Throughout February I was in Sudan for the CAF Nations Cup Championship. On the fabled fourteenth of that month, I got a mail from Ikeddy Isiguzo, who to you, is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of Vanguard Group of Newspapers.
Ikeddy’s mail to me and other dear friends, was to invite us to “ Please come to Ghana where he was at the beach with his wife, “ sipping drinks”.
Ikeddy is to me, more than a friend. I hope the younger generation will not forget this is a bloody good sportswriter who has ventured out of the sports desk, through the conventional newsroom to the comfortable seats and conference tables of the editorial board.
In 1989 in Saudi Arabia for the FIFA World Youth Championship, I found myself ‘partnering’ with Ikeddy in a healthy competition that benefitted both our newspapers. (He was then sports editor of the Vanguard while I wrote for Champion) I have lived through fond memories of that trip.
Today is Friday, March 25 2011. As I sit in my suit at the M-Plaza Hotel in Osu, Accra, Ghana, I remember that Ikeddy invitation.
I have been two days in Ghana and Ikeddy’s heavenly mien, that warm inner peace that made him want to share with friends and colleagues, stare me in the face, every where I go to.
I will not bore my readers this morning with the clean streets and environment of Accra. I will not talk about the traffic and street lights that work and the low fences that expose the beauty of the houses even as security is effectively pronounced in the process.
I better not write of the “ Houses for sale” signs that I see, because I was given the impression that Nigerians have bought all there is to buy.
Is there any need to announce the flocking to Ghana of our big churches and their mighty pastors who perhaps must have exhausted the devils in Nigeria and are now seeking more Satan conquests in foreign shores ( ?)
Please come to Ghana……I came to Ghana on the invitation of FIFA to handle tomorrow’s (Last Saturday) London 2012 Olympic Qualifier between the Black Meteors of Ghana and their Sudanese counterparts, and guess who I meet at the Murtala Mohammed Airport?
Ouattara Hegaud is the Secretary General of the Ivorien Football Federation. For thirteen years we sat on the Media Committee of CAF before he was called up to higher duties. Ouattara is on his way to Ghana, where Cote Divoire has adopted as ‘home’ given the war situation back home.
“ I am on my way to Ghana. Last night, I decided to stop over in Nigeria for some ‘consultations”
Those ‘consultations’ should have been before now. How come Cote Divoire decided to play in Ghana and not Nigeria? I got very interested because the Ivoriens had two matches on the cards. Both the Olympic Qualifier against Liberia and the Nations Cup qualifier versus Benin see Ghana as the beneficiary.
I will not sit down here and compute the amount of resources Cote D’ivoire will be pumping into the Ghanaian economy in one week end by hiring over six hotels for the teams, officials and spectators, local transportation, shoppings, etc.
On the streets, the spectators relish the luck and the bonus of seeing the Drogbas and Toures, “ just like that”
Ouattara says he does not know whether Nigeria would have accepted the offer, that logistics favoured Ghana more than Nigeria and whereas we had two home matches last week end, Ghana had only one ….etc. He tried to wriggle out from what to him, was an unexpected question.
What is not unexpected is that Ghana, still relishing in the election of her President to the Executive Committee of CAF was taking giant strides in Africa including the easy realization of a high profile friendly match against England which comes up tomorrow in Wembley!
In the course of our journey (A drab meal aboard Air Nigeria that saw the cutlery pack in biz class without salt, pepper and tooth pick) we went back to Sudan and the elections.
We spoke about WAFU, how a meeting that was convened by acting President Moucharraf Anjorin could not hold perhaps because he did not succeed at the polls, how with the absence of Dr. Adamu and the ouster of second Vice President Madamme Izetta (No more in charge in Liberia), WAFU has fixed a meeting for Banjul on April 9 to elect new leaders and forge a way forward for the regional body.
What is the take of Nigeria? I told him I did not know.
I know President Maigari and his Vice left Sudan on the day the WAFU meeting was scheduled to hold. I do not know whether the NFF is aware and have been invited to the Banjul meeting. If ‘yes’ are we going to toe a line different from the log jam at the CAF elections?
Are we not going to ask WAFU to wait for Dr. Adamu to come back from CAS?
I did not intend to generate debates and to be too taxing and academic this morning .
Please come to Ghana, where a lot of credible hotels have sprung up after the Nations Cup. Come to Ghana and sip drinks in the absolute peace of a clean beach……with your wife.Before that luxury, my match beckons.
FOR NIGERIAN CLUBS
This week end, the four Nigerian clubs involved in CAF Cup competitions will go out for the decisive second leg match that will determine their future in Africa.
For Sunshine and Kaduna United, two home goals in Africa, ordinarily may not be considered enough, but with tactical play and a disciplined match execution, I see them coming back victorious.
Most people have celebrated Enyimba’s goaless draw away with a punctuation. That a 1-2 loss at away is better than 0-0 draw where the visitors will come seeking for the valuable away goal. But we are talking about Enyimba here, a team endowed with a lot of experience at continental level, former champions.
It is Pillars that has the most herculean of all the tasks. WAC is a club steeped in history and experience and cancelling a two goal lead may be difficult but not un surmountable and Pillars also has the experience to prevail. Ask Al Ahly of Egypt.
Something tells me all our four clubs will emerge victorious. Can someone say Amen?
See you next week.