With two days to go, the countdown has begun.
Gernot Rohr is keeping everything close to his chest.
Last night, after dinner, he allowed the media a last interaction with the players. The players were free to talk and express their thoughts approaching the most crucial match of the championship so far, a match that could make or mar them.
Otherwise, earlier during the day little happened.
The camp was empty of any unwanted visitors.
Gernot would not allow anything or anyone to disrupt the calmness of his players and the tranquility of the environment. He wanted the players to be totally focused on the match on Saturday. He even insisted that, feel like it or not, the players had to remain in their rooms for their afternoon siesta, between 2 and 4pm. No loitering, no visitors, no noisemaking, no telephones, nothing!
For the Super Eagles, it was back to the basics of strict camp discipline.
There was training in the evening, of course.
For only the first 15 minutes of the session, the press were allowed to film the team training. Thereafter, they were politely asked to leave so that more serious tactical training could take place.
By the time the players returned to their base last night, it was clear they had gone through very serious drilling from the way they dragged their bodies through dinner and dove to bed.
It is another day, this morning.
The air is filled with the clear instruction from Mr. Gernot Rohr that his team is not to be disturbed by anyone or anything. Even today’s training will be ‘closed’ to everyone except his technical crew.
This is a different Gernot as he approaches the most critical match of his assignment with the Super Eagles. He knows it himself that failure on Saturday (and that does not mean losing, but not doing as well as Nigerians expect their national team to play at all times – fighting till they drop even when they don’t win), his stay beyond Egypt will be in serious doubt.
So, he is deploying a strict regimen as an important strategy with the players for the match.
The good news is that there have not been any government officials, or outsiders talking to the players, promising them anything, distracting them and unbalancing the equilibrium they have achieved so far for this match.
There will be no excuses for not playing as if their lives depend on winning this particular match.
It must never be documented that the Super Eaglesdid not give of their very best, win or lose!
The sum total of what’s going on here this morning is that it is all very quiet.
By the way, I came across some archival material of not so long ago that would interest all Nigerians.
After I wrote my last book, ‘Me, Football and More”,a compilation of some very interesting stories from my writings through almost 4 decades, I invited some of the best readers and broadcasters in Nigeria, to read one chapter of the book each – Ronke (Dalley) Ayuba, Bimbo (Roberts) Oloyede, Joke Silva, Jimmy Solanke, Patrick Oke, Soni Irabor, Yinka Davis, Femi Sewoolu, Dejumo Lewis, Taiwo Solanke, Osasu Obayiuwana, Femi Segun (late), and so on.
We recorded some of the readings on video, but all on audio.
From this weekend, everyone can connect with a supreme diet of incomparable voices, diction, elocution, delivery and syntax.
Many of the readings shall be uploaded onto the www.mathematical7.comwebsite.
So, check it out, for endless information, history, enlightenment and entertainment.