Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kindly sign my petition to give Berti Vogts his P45

Hola peeps. Deseo que el equipo de Nigeria podría sentir mi dolor.

Got to Ghana the morning of the 20th and was ace to see the Bradford crew waiting at the airport. Haven’t seen some of the guys in over seven years! The three of them flew in from Scotland last night and another Bradfordian joined us from Lagos later that day. It’s amazing what us Nigerians do for the love of sport. Stranger still, one of the guys hadn’t visited Africa in 11 years, yet he chose Ghana over Nigeria as his first point of call because of the Africa Nations Cup. U gotta love it.

Soon as we left the airport I asked to be fed ‘cos went out the night before with married-for-3 weeks mate, his wife and her sister; and slept for the duration of the flight so didn’t munch nada on plane. Joe, the driver, took us to a chop bar where we tried pounded rice and palm nut soup. After the sumptuous meal we gained the strength to commence searching for tickets to the match between Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire tomorrow.

Our search led to dead ends until other mate from Lagos flew in. Dude studied in Ghana – after his spell at Bradford – and developed enough contacts to hook us up with tickets. His ex, a former Miss Ghana I told y’all about some blog entries years back, discovered some one that’d arrange VIP tickets at $100 a piece. Hmmm, that’s quite steep for footie tickets, but since we all flew in to watch Naija win the Africa Nations Cup, what’s a little garri drinking b/w friends, eh?

As it panned out Miss Ghana got us the tickets for free, that’s gratis baby. See why I tell y’all it’s always important to end relationships as amiable as possible? Okay, if we discover tomorrow she got us tickets in the midst of Ivorien hooligans u can ignore that last sentence.

Oh yeah, almost forgot to tell y’all about the villa we rented. I walked in and was lost for words; it’s absofrigginlutely amazing. I’d imagine living in that place as long as possible. Hold on, is that a tear I feel running down my cheek? Unbelievably, I am getting emotional over a house. It’s either that or someone’s replaced my Vitamin C tablets with estrogen ones. Hmmm, that’d also explain why I spent half an hour at the sports bra section at the Duty Free, comparing their soft texture on the skin. Aaaarrggghhh, what is up with me?

Here’s a running diary of the rest of stay in Ghana.

Monday January 21st: Was difficult getting outta bed as Miss Ghana took us to the Monte Carlo last night where the music was excellent. Had planned a return trip to the club after Nigeria had thrashed Cote D’Ivoire….or so I thought.

It took us 3.5 hours from Accra to Sekondi – made a diversion to see Cape Coast where slaves were housed - in an uncomfortable van, but we didn’t mind ‘cos we were ready to support the Nigeria team with our last breath. Turns out what they deserved instead was a public flogging. The Ivorien team weren’t that good, but Nigeria was worse, way way worse. B4 I left Nigeria I remember Kanu the captain asking Nigerians to pray for the team. Why in goodness sake would one wanna waste God’s time when the team don’t bother creating opportunities for a pass? I now understand why folk love watching matches live; one gets to see stuff they wouldn’t normally on TV. Here are a few observations:

1. Eboue’s turned into a dirty player, sad to call him an Arsenal player. Dude feigns injury and tends to dive a lot, probably ‘cos he’s been hanging with Drogba lately.
2. Drogba may be a great player and all, but dude sure can whine. Man, this guy deserves an award for whining about every little thang. No wonder he loves to grow his hair long, I reckon he is a secret cross-dresser.
3. Of the Nigerian players Ejide, the defence, and Mikel Obi came outta that game with their heads held high; the other players should be benched for the next game. The wings weren’t utilized one bit, Utaka’s a waste of space who’d be sent back to Portsmouth asap; Taye Taiwo doesn’t run after the ball, he’s overrated; Olofinjana doesn’t deserve to play for a pub team let alone the national team; Yakubu is the laziest player on the continent.
4. Berti Vogt has no tactical ability, he’s a spent force. For goodness sake when did Nigeria start playing the long ball? Embarassing. Don’t they watch Arsenal? U get the ball, pass, and move; not get the ball, pass and stay on same spot.
We don’t need a foreign coach, but if folk at the NFA say we do then why peeps with no relevance like Berti Vogts? The NFA had also suggested talent-less Brian Robson as well. Oh man.
5. Emmanuel Amunike, the famous Nigerian winger now scouting for IMG, was seated directly in front of us and dude has the patience of Job. During the half time folk kept bugging him about taking photos, and he acquiesced to each request. Now I know why celebs lash out at folk.
Half way into the second half, dude put down his pen and pad and complained to a colleague about Nigeria’s play. Dude was so distressed he didn’t bother to make any more notes.

The drive from Sekondi was real uncomfortable. The guys on board couldn’t help dissecting the Nigeria team and how atrocious they were. Not so keen on driving to Sekondi again only to lose to Mali. Maybe we’d ask for Berti’s starting lineup before purchasing tickets to the game. Utter bollocks.

Tuesday January 22nd: Slept in ‘til 10am. Woke up to mad runs – went thrice in 30 minutes – and reckon that’s my way of dealing with the loss yesterday. On way back from the match yesterday couldn’t help thinking I was to blame.

After all the only other time I have seen Nigeria play live they lost 1-5 to Holland. But then I wore a Nigerian replica jersey and this time I didn’t; oh man, why am I acting like my actions have impact on what happens on a footie pitch? It’s the estrogen tablets, I’m sure it is. I’da carried out my threat to run across the pitch naked, maybe that’da shocked the team into playing well.
Good thang we staying in a nice villa; the place had a calming feeling. That said don’t think I can stand to leave the house today. Good thang Arsenal’s playing later today, their free-flowing winning style would go some way to easing the hurt I feel from Naija’s crap display.

Wednesday January 23rd: What an utterly crap football week. First Naija lose like punks and then Arsenal chose this of all the weeks in the world to lose like biatches to Spurs.

Was so pissed had to go out on the town to get my head outta losing. Went to some club called Waikiki – the less said of it the better - and observed Ghanaian chicks are well vain. This club, and the one we went to on Sunday, had mirrors and the chicks couldn’t help dancing in front of the mirrors. Last time I saw this happen was at Purdue University when some real obese dude with a red t-shirt – he always wore that shirt - always danced in front of a mirror shaking what his father gave him like he was the hottest thang alive. Good times good times.

‘Cos of all the losses I was too distraught to leave the house and spent the entire day watching TV….and not showering. Time alone got me thinking some more.

Went out all night without fear of being robbed, haven’t noticed any houses here with anti-robbery devices such as barbed wires on fences or stuff. So if that’s possible in other African countries what’s the deallie with Nigeria? If countries at war can end their attrition and return to the norm why can’t robbery in Lagos become a thang of the past?

However, with 5 guys sharing a villa u know the subject of women had to come up, right? Can’t tell y’all everything else I’ll be barred from The Guys Club, but while talking one of the guys said he regards the date he sleeps with a chick as the day they “start going out”. To which I asked, “so u’ve never had a girlfriend u didn’t sleep with?” Dude looked at me like I was a Martian. Well according to that seminal book men are from Mars and….SHUT UP u geek u!

Anyways through all our discussions I happened upon an interesting discovery. Y’all ready? Come closer, it’ll blow ur mind……CELIBACY is the way to go. It saves so much stress, what with guys believing one thang and chicks believing essentially any new vogue Hollywood spews out. Lately I’m beginning to grasp why guys can never win; women want u to remember a bricolage of whatever they deem important at that moment: the day y’all first met, the day of ur first date, the day y’all had ur first kiss, the first time y’all made love, the first time y’all bumped into each other in public and discovered y’all were wearing matching colours, etc. It beggars belief and just gets ridiculouser and ridiculouser (yes, that’s my new favourite word).

Thursday January 24th: Decided to go shopping for souvenirs, not for me, no baby. Here’s the thang, no matter how excited u are to be visiting a new place NEVER tell female friends ‘cos they always want some loadsa stuff. On what planet does ‘football’ rhyme with ‘shopping’?

Since Nigeria wasn’t worth sacrificing time for the crew decided not to take the long trip to Sekondi tomorrow, instead we bought a goat – affectionately called Billy – and decided on a bbq to support the Ghanaian team in their game against Namibia tonight.

Friday January 25th: The bbq last night was off the ying yang. Namibia played with real gusto and didn’t deserve to lose, but it’s all good. The bbq was so successful, and we had so much food and drinks left, we decided to have another shindig this evening.

That’s right, so no matter how crap Nigeria play I’m still gonna have a good time. Who am I deceiving? It’s the fifteen minutes left in the Nigeria vs Mali game and we playing like the first game. Berti Vogts must be having a laff. Taking off Odemwingie, so far the best player on the night, and leaving lazy ass Yakubu on? Friggin’ heck. Now I am happy I didn’t hustle for tickets to the game. The patriot in me wants Nigeria to win, but the realist hopes, nah prays, they lose the game so the coach can be fired.
Watching this game is disgraceful; oh man it hurts. That’s it peeps ur fav blogger has had his sports heart truly broken. This painful beyond words, it worse than what a woman can do. With a woman u can delete her digits from ur phone, avoid places where y’all used to hang out, hit on her sworn enemies. When ur country breaks ur heart, what do u do? I am Nigerian, I always will be Nigerian, I can’t just up and change where I am from.
Now I get why fans spew such vitriol on talk radio, now I get why crazed fans attack football teams, now I get why…hold on I know where Yakubu lives in Lagos! Yeah, yeah. I have Nwakwo Kanu’s cellphone number in the UK. Look I am not asking y’all to harm the players, just scare the life outta them to furnish Berti Vogts home address so we can egg his house. Just so I don’t get arrested I won’t provide all details, just guide y’all along, u know provide little tips so y’all know what to do. Here goes: Yakubu lives in the second to the last house on the left, Road _, Victoria Garden City, Lagos; Nwankwo Kanu’s UK cellphone number is 0796_57929_. Done my bit folk, y’all fill in the blanks and go forth. I’d appreciate updates on ur efforts.

Saturday January 26th: The crew went to the beach early in the morning. Shoulda done this earlier, but never too late. Played footie with some Ghanaians and worked out some sweat. Called it quits after a Nigerian mercenary – he knows who he is – banged up my knee. Had to limp from the bus to the plane, but that’s what one gets when one’s a top class footballer, innit? Ha huh ha huh ha huh ha

Notwithstanding the Nigeria footie results I am glad I embarked on the trip. So it was my worst sports week ever – yup, Roger Federer chose this week to lose his Aussie Open crown – but these things happen. With every bad sports week there’s a revelation like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. U know what would make the sports malarkey easier to swallow, if the New England patriots lose to the Giants in Superbowl XLII. Ha.

I had so much fun doing this break I couldn’t keep track of all the things we did, though the photos on Crackbook – when I eventually post them – should go some way to filling the blanks.

Tot ziens and God bless.

4 yards of Woodin fabric: $20
6 yards of Kente fabric: $100
Running around like a headless chicken in search of an ATM in Ghana that accepts Mastercard…..and discovering only VISA outlets? Priceless

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Are u ready for CHOGM?

Hola peeps. ¡Esto es lo que usted llama un día de fiesta!

Gotta apologize for being absent for so long. U see the day I arrived Lagos from Warri I went directly to Ife from the airport due to family commitments. (Hey is it just me or do I need an English lesson? Have y’all noticed when Nigerian airlines give excuses for delays they don’t use ‘to’ after ‘due’. For example, “the flight is delayed due bad weather.” Am I missing something?) Anyways it was the first time at Ife in near 12 years. My first impression? I’d better suck it up if I wanna commence my grassroots campaign for the presidency.

The week before Xmas in Lagos was crazy. U know Warri’s looking more charming by the minute ‘cos this crazy Lagos traffic’s worse than I remember. Usually leaving the Island after 9pm on weekdays is a safe bet to avoid traffic to the mainland. Not anymore mates, seems 10pm’s the magic hour now. Crazy.

Spent a week in Lagos before I hopped on the plane for Kenya and I was like a kid leaving boarding school, counting down the days b4 my trip. During that week ran around doing some stuff or the other, but found the time to catch Beowulf and American Gangster. Loved, repeat, loved Beowulf. As usual Brendan Gleeson’s talent shone through and Ray Winstone was his usual capable self. Angelina’s xter was, well let’s just say even though most men who’ve seen the movie know the outcome of chilling with her they’d still take the chance. Yup, Brad Pitt’s the luckiest man alive.

Kenya news: Spent two days in Nairobi, Kenya and another seven in Kampala, Uganda. Woulda stayed even longer with my East African brothers if didn’t have to return for mate’s wedding. Yes, soon-to-be-married mate is now officially-married mate. Returned to Nigeria a day after the Kenyan elections and it’s sad to behold what’s currently happening in that country. Kenya’s reputation as a beacon of democracy in Africa has taken a bashing worse than Britney’s faltering career.

Left Uganda and Kenya with nada but praise and hope in Africa’s future. Soon as I stepped outta Nairobi airport couldn’t help but gush at the place. Nairobi’s friggin’ beautiful. Nah, scratch that, adjectives haven’t been invented to describe its beauty. Couldn’t believe I was in Africa. The street lights functioned, drivers drove in their lanes and didn’t honk at the slightest instance of traffic, and the city was properly planned. Didn’t even see a policeman soliciting bribe. Man, if I ever get off my cute butt to write that Africanized Bond-esque novel that’s been circling in my head for months Nairobi would be the perfect setting. Gotta thank Ugandan mate Dave for showing me the sights.

On the eve of our departure to Uganda we attended a wedding in some plush suburb near Nairobi and was able to observe first hand differences in Nigerian and East African wedding ceremonies. Unlike in Nigeria the wedding is held at the groom’s ‘place’ so groom’s peeps foot the bill. Also when the wedding cake’s been cut the couple, along with members of their train, serve cake to the guests and ensure everyone’s had a taste. This practise as well as the number of speeches made is uniquely East African. (Though discovered other observations at this wedding such as, cash bar, no couple’s dance and the DJ’s penchant for Brian McKnight slow songs, was alien to Dave as well.)

In Nigeria the chairman at the wedding makes a speech, then maybe the best man and the groom. Not in East Africa babes; here, anyone with access to the mic has a go at saying more than a few words. The speeches, oh man the speeches!

Y’all shoulda been there. Last time I had such a surreal experience was during my first church service in the States. It was in Lafayette, IN and for most of the service I wish I’d brought along a camcorder so I’d show folk in the UK that all the mannerisms of black pastors we’d seen in the movies were not exaggerated. All that was going thru my head was Arsenio Hall’s Reverend Brown in Coming to America. This dude even had a gold front tooth to match! It was sheer bliss.

At the Kenya wedding after the bride’s father spoke for ages and introduced everyone from his side who’d come from far and wide to attend the wedding - the record was held by some lady from Australia - the groom’s uncle started off by saying he’d not introduce all his folk as it’d appear as if he was trying to match his in-law’s speech, YET he still chose to inform us that the groom “also comes from an international family”. He went on to list peeps they got in Europe and rest of Africa, and topped it off by mentioning a cousin who had emigrated to the States via the visa lottery and is now married to an African-American with two African-American kids. At this point I couldn’t hold it in anymore I cracked up worse than Bobby Brown after spending a day taking “medication” for his bipolar disorder. Guess it’s an innate African trait to show off one way or the other.

While walking around Nairobi earlier in the day came across a spot that makes embroidered t-shirts. Sorry Nigeria I gave y’all a chance to partner in creating my masterpieces but y’all kept me hanging. Now I’m trusting Kenya with my legacy. Sucks to be u Nigeria, don’t it? After discussing with their rep, was quoted a reasonable price and sent to the head office to finalise the deal. Got to the joint and was kept waiting for so long I stormed out. Hello Nigeria, seems I am back. Forgive and forget?

Uganda news: I’d write a tourist guidebook to encourage Nigerians to visit other African countries, if nothing else, to break down stereotypes. (Peep this: I get off the plane at Nairobi, first time in another African country, and recognize a Nigerian who’s married to a neighbour from Lagos; apparently they been in Kenya for past five years. Once again justifying the stereotype that Nigerians are everywhere. Ha.)

When Dave told his fellow Ugandans he’s got a Nigerian mate coming over all the stereotypes about Nigerians came out: arrogant, 419ers, etc. Same happened when I informed Nigerians I’d chosen to visit Kenya and Uganda. Kenya, I kinda get, at least u can see the Safari. What does Uganda have apart from AIDS?

Thank goodness I didn’t listen ‘cos I had a blast and then some. Unlike Nairobi Kampala’s small and sure reminds me of Lagos, nah more like Benin with the red soil and all. Driving’s just as bad as Lagos, roads just as bad, boda bodas just as prevalent though not as reckless as their Lagos okada counterparts.

Didn’t do any “touristy” thang until the eve of departure to Naija when I went whitewater rafting. Yup, that’s the Caucasian in me coming out. We – raft of 8 folk and an instructor – rafted 31km through Class 3, 4 and 5 rapids. My body ached afterwards ‘cos we rafted from 10am until 5pm, but - channelling Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles - it was awesome dude!!!! I would do it again in a heartbeat and woulda gone bungee jumping as well if I had realized early it was on offer. Yup, plan to change my name to Chester or Tad or some other name only suburban white dudes would bear.

My stay in Kampala consisted of waking up after noon, eating, clubbing or hanging out, sleeping. It sure was a heckuva break. Loved every relaxing minute of the cycle. What else, what else? Can’t seem to think I am forgetting to tell y’all something……oh yes, the WOMEN!

B4 I left for this trip u couldn’t convince me that Nigerian women as a whole weren’t the hottest in Africa. Most of the East African women I met in the UK were hardly stunners and prominent East Africans on my TV such as Wangari Maathai aren’t exactly aesthetically appealing, so I wasn’t expecting much. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, they all had dark gums, protruding foreheads and hips that any Lagos Mama Put would be proud of, but man, I saw so many stunners my neck’s still hurting from turning and twisting.

Though I met the finest looking East African chick ever in Uganda I reckon Kenyan women are the better looking of the duo. If u ever in Nairobi make sure u visit The Carnivore. It’s famous for serving meat, meat, meat. By the time we got there – after the long arse wedding speeches – the restaurant was closed, but the menu for the day included alligator meat and ostrich balls. Good thang I had someone call ahead to reserve a table for “a Nigerian prince Tunde” ‘cos the queue to get in was crazy long. All Dave had to do was call the manager aside and indicate that the guy in the dashing suit is a Nigerian prince with a reservation and we were ushered to the front of the line. Honest.

Wasn’t too bothered I didn’t get to sample the cuisine ‘cos never seen so many fine women in one place…and the music was off the gravity. It was New Jack Swing Friday and DJ was in his element. Everything from GUY to Johnny Kemp was on blast. Dude was so good he didn’t have to repeat songs. Man, the songs took me back, wayyyy back. Coming back to the women it appears every famous black star has a doppelganger in Kenya. I saw Rihanna, said hello to Kelly Rowland and danced with Nia Long. Woah. For the first time in my life polygamy seemed to make sense! I am definitely including The Carnivore as a setting in my Black Bond movie.

The hangout spots in Uganda on the other hand weren’t as on point as The Carnivore - I doubt anywhere in the world is – but they were still cool. Remember how I told y’all Kampala’s real small, well, got me a stalker from a wedding I attended in Kampala, and every spot I went chick was there. It’s not as if she ain’t presentable, it’s just that, well, um, she oozed desperation.

Woah, that’s a good line for my yet untitled novel. Wouldn’t it be weird if someone marketed a perfume called Desperation? Okay, sorry to digress, where was I?

I knew I had gotten myself in it when the girl asked me to dance. She held me close and insisted on singing out loud to every song in her sonorous voice; talk about strangling cats. I tell y’all anytime PSquare’s Busy Body is playing I still hear her croaked voice and smell her cigarette breath.

I gotta tell y’all Nigerian musicians 2Face and PSquare have a huge Ugandan fan base. Wouldn’t for the life of me have fathomed that. Could be a useful image laundering tool for Nigeria? Nah

Stalker insisted on holding my hand everywhere. At Club Silk - Dave and I got in free by playing the ‘Nigerian prince’ card again - she said she wanted to go to the ladies and insisted I walk her to the loo door. U what? Told her I’d walk her half way, but on way there bump into some South African stunner called, man, so bad with names I can’t remember, yeah, yeah, she’s called Susan. Anyways so this chick beckons to me and whispers, “My name is Susan. Send a waiter along so I can write down my number without ur girlfriend over there being any the wiser.” While laughing at this I notice Glenn Close walking towards Susan and me. In order not to create a scene I walked towards Glenn and ask if she ain’t using the loo anymore. “Who’s that girl, did u know her before or did u just meet her at the club?” Couldn’t believe my ears. Was I married to Miss Close now, is that the way it works in Uganda, u dance with someone and then they own u? Lol…knew I had to get outta there fast. Meanwhile my mate Dave is laughing his black arse off like it’s comedy hour or something. That was definitely the lowlight of my trip. Hey, at least I’ll always have The Carnivore.

Tot ziens and God bless.

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