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DURO’S RUSSIA NOTES…. BLUES FOR MY ARGENTINA FRIENDS


first_imgIn most hotels in St Petersburg for instance, the sky-blue and white colours of Argentina that used to be the dominant jerseys in sight have started to fade following the exit of the Albiceleste against France Sunday night.The boisterous fans of the South American nation were seen in solemn moods at most bars Sunday night, wondering why they have to leave at this stage.A group of five that have become close to this reporter failed to show up at our usual rendezvous. Franco, who appears as the top dog of the traveling Argentine party in St Petersburg was seen at breakfast table this morning not his usual self. “Amigo, I am not happy today,” he muttered in his heavily accented Spanish guttural intonation. “Why, Messi, Why?” he continued to stress over Argentina’s loss to a Kylian Mbappe inspired Les Bleus in that Round of 16 seven-goal thriller at the Kazan Arena.I could not hide my happiness that the Argentines were going home like the Super Eagles, not after that insulting, ‘f-ck you’ finger gesture from Maradona, when camera picked him out from the crowd during that last Group D game against Nigeria. Though I feel sad losing the company of these noisy, football crazy Argentine fans, I said in my heart that the injustice of Turkish centre referee, Neyt Cakir, not awarding a second penalty to Nigeria has been taken care of by my ‘African brothers’playing for France here at this Mundial.BAD MARKET FOR LATE ARRIVALSThe exit of African teams at the group stage is not only been felt by those of us that came here all the way from home but also turning out bad business for those selling jerseys of the five teams here. Our ‘Aso Ebi’ that was the ‘hottest cake’ here exchanging for as high as three hundred Dollars for the original stuff from Nike has dropped in value. Racketeers who were selling the ‘China-made’ for equivalent of between 50 and 30 Dollars are now at a loss. Customers have thinned out due to the loss. The same applies to jerseys of other African teams already gone home.Even in the face of bad business, one lady who came in early with her stuff from Nigeria is smiling away, having sold off her wares while the market was ‘hot.’ She certainly must have learnt her lesson from previous outings to make hay while the sun shines.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Now, the men have been separated from the boys. The real gladiators have taken over the battlefields here in Russia with majority of the pretenders either home already or on the way to their various destinations.Most cities where the group matches were played are now witnessing quiet moments, with rancorous atmospheres witnessed in pubs and eateries gradually simmering to their usually acceptable levels.But Moscow and St Petersburg, the two major bubbling cities of in Russia remain in top tempo as they are stiff full of actions with matches lined up till semi finals, Third Place and final in the two respective cities.last_img read more