By Onochie Anibeze
London, July 25
I played football but not to the level that officials needed my passport for any outing. Injury did not allow me to proceed.
I, therefore, don’t have passport age as our footballers or young sports men and women do. When a footballer says his age, it is a common thing to ask weather it is real or passport age. I have never lowered my age for any reason but London Accreditation officials did that here. It was an error that delayed my accreditation for 24 hours.
On arrival in London on Wednesday, a friendly and conversational volunteer had Mitchel Obi, the ace sports analyst and commentator and myself to the desk where we could sort out our accreditation. In less than three minutes Mitchel had his accreditation hanging on his neck.
The story was not same for me. After few minutes of trying to verify my document from the computer, a lady volunteer on the accreditation desk told me “sorry, we cannot process your accreditation here. You may have to go to the Main Press Center.”
I asked what the problem was and she said the age in our document is not the same with that in your passport.” I screamed, asking how that could have happened. They could not provide an answer. I was shocked. I filled my forms properly and never made any such mistake. Actually, the age in my document here in London is 10 years younger.
I did not take it lying low and wanted to raise issues there at the airport. Mitchel laughed and said I was lucky for being 10 years younger. He recalled when such a thing happened to him and another visa and accreditation had to be issued to him as the one he carried were based on the wrong age in his form.
Well, they did not need to do that here and the problem was sorted out at the Main Press Center near the Olympic Stadium 24 hours later. After they mixed up South Korea’s anthem and flag for North Korea’s during a soccer game for North Korea mine appears a lesser problem and I am no longer complaining.
Prime Minister David Cameroun said yesterday that they would leave a legacy as hosts. I have turned 10 years younger in London, a legacy in a way.
A Classy beggar
When the sun shines here people go naked on the streets.
Yes, this means nothing here. It’s normal in Europe and America to almost be nude when it’s summer and the sun warms up the atmosphere. What Africans at home will marvel at is normal here. But at the Brixton Train Station a beggar added something to the men and women who appeared to be competing over skimpy wears that are so transparent you will prefer to look away than to look on if you must keep your sanity.
A man was playing some melodious tunes on saxaphone and the effect was so strong that some couples really coupled tightly while listening to the music.
They were just there while many walked past. Some dropped money in a container beside the man. He was a beggar with a difference. At least, he provided entertainment and had something for his effort. I saw a similar scene at Victoria Train Station but the setting was different.
The Jamaicans and other blacks in South London heat up the place and now that the Olympics are here it is a daily carnival in south London and the Olympic fever may be felt here than East London which hosts the games.
The man in Victoria Station played great guiter and people dropped money but did not create scene, not so at Brixton where passers-by make a show of everything. The Olympic Games are here.