Manchester United as Champions of England have only ever honored their Nigeria fan base once, and it was back in 2008, on their tour of Africa.
But emerging stories from that trip, as told by a Manchurian – through and through – are horrifying to say the least.
It might seem like a lot to take in, but in an excerpt from his book, “Between the Lines: My Autobiography”, former Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick painted a picture so intense about the team’s trip to Abuja, it feels like he’d borrowed a leaf from an horror flick.
Carrick recounted the assault on a hotel staff by Military personnel, for taking a picture. Apparently, the presence of Manchester United players and staff in Abuja was a high security risk as it coincided with the spike in kidnapping for ransom in the Country.
The staff, “we never saw him again”, isn’t to be taken literally, at least not in the sense of him gone missing, but of course the overzealousness of the security details attached to the team will leave a first time visitor stunned.
He also shared the chiling tales of kids disabled by their own Parents so they could end up on the streets begging for alms.
On the purpose of the visit, a Tinapa Resorts Center Soccer tournament exhibition game against FA Cup winners Portsmouth, it wasn’t a delight.
Playing inside the Abuja Stadium, now the Moshood Abiola, National Stadium, was like something out of the book of Exodus 10:12, as described.
Flying insects swarming football pitches isn’t an uncommon sight, but in most cases it’s a town planning/City development problem as it could also be an architectural oversight, and both are the case of the National Stadium in Abuja, in this writer’s opinion, but that’s a story for another day.
The players couldn’t stay a minute longer after the drab game – and though Carrick admitted to lack of match fitness – it’s hard to think fans had a memorable experience watching the quality of the game itself, Manchester United won though.
Perhaps the most shocking of the narration was about how the whole team fell sick afterwards, only to find their food was contaminated with Monkey and Rat pop.
Can’t argue that it’s impossible, but Monkey shit found in samples of Players’ vomit isn’t something that’s quite common in Abuja, it’s hilarious as it’s worrisome if one thinks about how lax health inspectors on rounds to the “big” hotels (unnamed) can be.
The Autobiography by the former player and Coach, may also have been a bit dramatic as was narrated, but in Nigeria truly anything is possible.
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