Something from behind the scenes

Good morning Everyone, It’s Thursday and we leave for our clash with Lobi Stars (who by the way lost narrowly to Rangers yesterday in Enugu) tomorrow I believe. We have had sufficient rest and we should be battle ready for the weekend. Hopefully it would be a good outing for Ogunbote and his men.

Today I want to tell a story. Usually this shouldn’t be public knowledge but seeing that it’s virtually a different Enyimba team right now, I can afford to share my gist. It’s called Tales on the road. What’s an Enyimba away trip like? I was privileged to travel with the team a couple of times last season and one particular trip was quite memorable. 

Because of my long legs, I chose a seat by the window which unknown to me was Femi Thomas’s. He’s our former Goalkeeper and you know how tall he is as well. He wasn’t all smiles when he got to the bus and I was sitting there. However he let me stay- after making it clear that’s his seat. Udoji sat in a weird position, one of the most uncomfortable seats in the bus. The middle row with attache seat. Surprising to me. 

When we got to Owerri there was some roadblock due to the sanitation exercise. (I hope I’m not mixing this up, juxtapositing two away trips as one. If I am, please forgive me. I think I am. But well you’ve forgiven me already). An official of the club walked up to the military guys on the road and explained who we were and the urgency of our trip and the red sea parted in two. The children of the Lord had their way and moved on.

As we went on, I began to take notice of some of our players and what they are like off the pitch. Abu Azeez was probably the loudest- and anyone who dared oppose his Arsenal got it red hot from him. Femi Thomas sitting beside me had big earphones on and had his eyes on his phone. At some point he was watching Nollywood- some Yoruba movie and later some goalkeeping training videos. 

I’m not sure why Nzube and Uche John got into a little bit of loud exchange of words. After a while the bigger one of the two guys eventually shut up. Why? Cos the smaller man’s voice literally drowned his. The audience cheered. Got to some point where we stopped to buy fuel and Etor said he wasn’t continuing the trip. Reason? He said he was hungry. The club officials had to beg and coax him, revealing that the trip was running later than scheduled. Reluctantly and with some snacks, he obliged. 

There were some also who weren’t even saying anything to anyone. Osadiaye was at the back, big earphone hanging downwards, the winger lost in his own world. Ezekiel Bassey was another very quiet one. Chukwude also, no words- just taking in what’s going on in his immediate environment. All of that did change at the outskirts of Oyo State when someone farted. How the lads dealt with the situation is best left unspoken. 

I did observe though that Chinedu Udoji isn’t all power on the pitch for nothing. He takes in a reciprocal amount of food to supplement all that energy put out on the pitch. Then again, players DO discuss journalists and what they put out there. You would expect that wouldnt you? They discuss referees too and when the video of the infamous Fed Cup semifinal game from last season (oh you know which I mean) came out, they shared thoughts about it among themselves. And oh, one asked me about the recession and if things will ever get better in the country. I gave a hopefilled response but you could see the fear in his eyes. 

Finally, players also feel the pain of a defeat. This trip was the one where Nasarawa beat us in Ibadan. The bus back to the hotel was deathly silent. No one shared any jokes nor any small talk at that. I believe that game did engrave some part of this club in my heart forever. 

That’s all I can share today. I hope it was worth your while. 

Back tomorrow 

‘EnyimbaEnyi 

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