Malawi is a very small country compared to Nigeria. With an estimated population of about 14,900,000 and landmass of just 118,000 km2 (45,560 sq mi), it is just unthinkable that Malawi would have the audacity to point the middle finger in the direction of any city in Nigeria. Referring to Calabar, one of the best cities in Nigeria, as lacking international flights, insecure and unfit to host its national football team and officials and referring to it with many unpalatable adjectives, show Malawi is lacking in information and education about Calabar.
In the words of Football Association of Malawi and its Belgian Coach Tom Saintfiet:
“There is security risk in Calabar where the match will be played, as reported by the Commonwealth Commission. The venue of the match is risky to our delegation and we would like FIFA to shift the match to Abuja or to a neutral country where our delegation will be safe. Calabar has been flagged as a high-risk security area and this alert cannot be taken lightly. Our Minister of Sports will be part of the travelling delegation and we do not want to take security risks by travelling to Calabar.
“Nigeria would like to play in Calabar because it is close to Cameroon in the south-east of Nigeria – not so easy to reach with the only connection via Lagos and Abuja but with no international flights. There are not so many hotels available so it will be very difficult to get there. I have one question also about security because the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office says it is a no-travel area. FIFA may have to think of shifting the match either to Abuja or to another place outside Nigeria because Calabar is obviously not the capital and it is not a big city. The accommodation is not good for such a big game”
It is just unimaginable that a landlocked country whose population cannot even match that of Lagos alone could be so daring.
I guess the country’s Foreign Minister is not doing his ‘foreign’ job very well. If so, he would have known that Calabar has befitting international airport, that Calabar is host to countless Westerners. He would have also known that Calabar is one of most important cities (and probably the neatest) in the oil-rich Niger Delta in Nigeria.
Football Association of Malawi and its Belgian Coach Tom Saintfiet need to be schooled that Calabar is the capital of Cross River State (and Nigeria’s First Capital City) and home to international seaport. It is also their lacking in information that blinds them to the fact that Calabar houses the headquarters of the Nigerian Navy Eastern Naval Command, that it is a city of numerous world-standard hotels and other befitting monuments such as Tinapa Resorts.
Why can’t they Google Calabar before their uninformed babbling!
The writer twits at @Femiolas