Thursday was surely going to be my first working day in Russia so I arrived in Volgograd as scheduled at exactly 8:15am from the stress-less lengthy train trip. After spending about fifteen minutes at the train station pondering on my movement for the day and directions, I set off.
My good friend Jane Nweze was the first to receive me in Volgograd and we proceeded to McDonald’s to get some breakfast of some sort. Of course, she is a nice lady and paid for both of us. Using the Google Map, we then trekked down to the hotel which would harbour the Super Eagles when they arrive the city – Hampton by Hilton.
Volgograd is hot. Just had breakfast with @JaneONweze and we've inspected the Eagles hotel before they arrive a little later today at 12:30pm here. #YourSportsMemo #SterlingBank pic.twitter.com/22wf9CKI2y
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) June 21, 2018
Two things were conspicuous immediately I got to Volgograd; the heat and (wait for it) the Flies. I had seen reviews from colleagues that were already in the city about the sweltering conditions but I must confess I didn’t expect it to be the ‘Enugu Standard Heat (ESH)’. It was pretty hot by 10am but not more than the hottest days in Southern Nigeria though.
The second thing were the flies hovering over us in broad daylight. If you are from the Mosquitoes Republic of Nigeria, you must have experienced something like that before, around 5-6pm in a mosquito dominated environment – mosquitoes hovering above you and you’re trying to kill them by indirectly clapping for them.
I was almost getting scared that: ‘Have they purshood me reach here again?’ I did some skabash then and thankfully, some Russian names are very good for speaking in tongues. Kushkaya, Paveleshky, Klinskaya, some Russians smiled as they passed by thinking I was reciting the locations I had crammed, they didn’t know I was in another realm.
I however recalled that one respected boss of mine, George Akpayen warned me two days ago about Flies in the city.
“Meanwhile Fisayo, prepare for flies in Volgograd. I have seen flies disturbing during matches there,” Mr Akpayen told me two then and I was surprised that “Really?” That remembrance brought my mind back home in peace. I can now conquer this land.
However, still curious, I had to quickly check my Bible to see how near Volgograd is to Egypt. Perhaps they are still being affected by the Plague of the Flies in the days of Moses and Pharaoh, who knows?
Work started in earnest with the arrival of the Super Eagles in their hotel and of course I received some thumbs up from some players while senior Toyin Ibitoye and coach Imama Amapakabo came over to give Jane and I some respectful handshakes.
The language battle continued as I had to go to the Stadium to prepare for the Eagles press conference and training session. One of the Yandex guys (Russian version of Taxify) tried a little to do a ‘Lagos stunt’ for me, taking me round the city instead of heading straight to the stadium. Trying to distract me with football talks (with the aid of GT of course), I wasn’t finding it funny at all. “Oga, carry me go the stadium kiakia bifor I send thunder down here now,” I said. He asked for the translation, and I wrote “It’s a way of greeting strangers in my dialect.” Abi na lie?
I enjoyed the FIFA Media Centre, fast Wi-Fi but unfortunately food is not free . I miss Morocco.
We attended the press conference where I got a question asked as usual, and also watched the France game somehow before heading to the Eagles hotel.
— Adegboyega Olaniyi (@auxanosparkles) June 21, 2018
What could’ve been the sore point of my trip was averted late in the evening while still at the Super Eagles hotel. I found out my wallet was missing. I am not the careless type so immediately, I tried to remember when last I saw it and it had to be inside the chartered taxi that took us to the hotel.
I had to quickly ring my Boss, Calvin Onwuka who was on his way to his hotel in that taxi to help check, all my financial institution in Russia was there. He called back minutes later with the soothing words “I have found it, you will get it tomorrow then.” Those words were just like PEACE in a raging storm.
Friday is match day and I can’t wait for the first match day experience in Russia.
Keep calm and support the Super Eagles.
Check last diary here: https://www.aclsports.com/russian-diary-2-language-barrier-i-asked-for-water/