Day #7

I received the invite to a presentation by Africa Football Revelation Initiative (AFRI) about the donation of 1 million football to African children for the development of grassroots football.

The presentation was slated for 11am at the Lotte Hotel & Suites in Moscow. Since I was present in Moscow, I went for the presentation. Surprisingly or not, African time came to play. At 11am, the big guns were not around thus Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah asked for patience.

A good number of the press were there before 11am. My Cameroonian and French speaking gang were there. Colin Udoh, Fisayo Dairo, Kisu, Jennifer, Bibian and a couple of other Nigerian journalists were there for the presentation.

FIFA president was seen around and was brought into the presentation hall before it started. He was preparing for a meeting and should be in St. Petersburg for the third place game. Flashlights, clicks and cameras, he took photographs with Dr. Ubah and everyone. I also stole a selfie.

The Nigerian Ambassador to Russia was in attendance together with members and officials of the Nigerian community in Moscow. I met Ife, Queen and Maryam. They are living and studying in Moscow. Ife was a volunteer at the Vnukovo Airport for Nigerians coming into Russia. Queen is pretty, came as a representative but looked lost initially. Maryam had the needle smile that could pierce diamond.

The presentation came in after CAF president Ahmad Ahmad came in. Amr Fahmy translated where required. I had a chat with him. We were disappointed with Africa’s performance in Russia. He said he stopped watching after Senegal were knocked out. He asked about the Nigerian league and who is currently on top of the table. Lobi Stars.

The AFRI project emphasized on distributing 1 million balls to 1 million kids. The strategy would necessitate partnership with many academies as FC IfeanyiUbah can only manage 500. Kids are expected to upload their skills/video to a site and they would receive a football and a set of kits if worthy.

There were other personalities we met but we left Lotte Hotel in search of a bank. Google map directed to us to Sber Bank (Сбербанк) but Alas it was just an ATM center. We sort another bank, used Money Gram and watched the third place game at a food court while eating Japanese burger.

Belgium defeated England 2-0 to finish 3rd. Some fringe players were used but England’s dreams of the World Cup coming home couldn’t even secure bronze.

Oh, we met some Russians dancing and singing on the main street close to Lotte. Jennifer joined to their delight. I joined too and took photos but went off when I heard words like “Krishna”. I jah oh. I no understand wetin dem dey sing.

A Metro train trip to Maryna Roscha and a Yander Taxi to Baumanskaya rounded up the day. I incurred extra 150 rubles for not knowing my exact address. Lessons learnt.

Time to think towards the finals. France or Croatia? Let the best win.

World Cup up