TWENTY-TWO Super Eagles fans who went to Brazil to cheer the Super Eagles to victory at the 2014 World Cup have been recounting their experiences in the South American country.
Speaking on their arrival in Lagos, some of the fans who were sponsored to Brazil by Coca Cola, said their first port of call when they arrived Brazil was the ‘La Maison’ hotel
One of the winners, Fakorede Saheed while describing the hospitality at the hotel, said the first word he learnt from the concierge at the hotel was elegante, meaning ‘elegance’ .
Nuhu Dalyopa, while sharing his experience in Brazil said “when we got to Copacabana, I felt I was at home; the locals were always happy to let you join in with the games, just roll up your shorts, so long as you are confident enough; I had a lovely time”.
Odunbaku Temitayo, while sharing his experience at the Fort Copacabana said “the levels of preservation, for the artifacts, in the museum are amazing. It’s like they are giving you the opportunity to relive moments of the war heroes,”
They visited the sugar loaf mountain resort, rising about 400 meters above sea level before heading to Bela Horizonte to watch the match in which the formal world champion Spain was beaten 5-1 by the Netherlands, a feat described by another winner, Onwo Robinson as historical. “I had never seen a monolith mountain and being at the top of this mountain felt like seeing the world, and knowing everything will be alright. I will always remember the feeling at the top and the celebrations that sparked when the Netherlands ruthlessly defeated the Spanish,” he said.
Recollecting watching the match between Argentina and Bosnia at the Maracana, which he described as the most historical football stadium in the world, Saheed said he was awed by the sheer size and shape of the stadium.
“The stadium was at a time the highest capacity football venue, able to hold nearly 200,000 people when it opened in 1950. So, sitting under this stadium and watching one of the greatest footballers of all time, Lionel Messi, play the match was indeed most spectacular.
“The way the Argentine fans took off their shirts and waved it over their heads was unbelievable, especially after Messi scored,” Fakorede enthused. “I jumped and hugged a football legend Luis Figo who was sitting beside me, that for me is an unforgettable moment.”
The climax moment of the trip for most of the winners was when they visited the monumental statue that welcomes the world to Brazil – ‘Christ the Redeemer’. Hoisted at the top of the 710 meter (2,330 feet) high of Corcovado Peak, the statue of Christ which was made of concrete and soapstone is considered the largest statue in the world. The statue stands with arms outstretched, gazing serenely over the city.
Egbejiogu Oyinye, one of the few women among the winners described the statue as inspirational, forgiving and full of hope. “The way the statue stands with outstretched arms is wonderful. I almost cried. It stood as though it was speaking to you, yet it was silent; I wouldn’t trade this moment for anything,” she said.