By Faith Kordoo
‘KILL US ALL IN KANO, KILL US ALL!’ Is the title of the first chapter of China Acheru’s first book; A Thousand Times On The Same Road
As we anticipate a sequel, let’s take a trip through the pages of the first work.
In this fourteen-chapter book, which I like to refer to as, “the autobiography of a sports journalist”; China Acheru, a renowned Nigerian sports journalist, chronicles his experiences while covering the round leather game across Nigeria, the African continent and the world at large.
Set primarily in the early to mid-2000s, A Thousand Times on the Same Road exposes us to a thousand football journeys laden with near-death experiences, sexcapades, fans violence, club rivalry, personal vendettas, corruption in the Nigerian football space and an unfettered zeal to survive.
The diction is simple, the tone; conversational and engaging, as the author uses humorous, yet catchy subtitles for each chapter and employs flashbacks, great imagery and excellent description to detail his intriguing encounters on the road.
It is safe to say, a thousand journeys can never be embarked on alone, and even if they are, it is the people we meet, in the places we visit, that make it whole and China indicates this with the inclusion of a guest chapter by a fellow veteran sports journalist in the person of Andrew Randa.
In the chapter titled; Many Ways to Die, a Few to Live, Andrew shares fascinating stories keeping in line with the general tone and aim of the book.
With a Foreword from the President of the Nigeria Football Association, Amaju Pinnick, himself, A Thousand Times on the Same Road is very intentional in its purpose of giving a vivid and candid insight into the world of Nigerian Football, particularly at club level and will get you caught between wanting to be very sad or angry, or wanting to roll over yourself in heartfelt laughter over it.
The most interesting thing about the book is that you do not even need to be a football fan to enjoy it; you just need to be Nigerian, because it is very Nigerian and very relatable.
It acknowledges the trials and tribulations that come with living and working in Nigeria, but also takes into recognition the camaraderie Nigerians share, in spite of it all.
Andrew Randa says in the book and I quote “…We need to get our stories out there; we just must!…”
And so, China Acheru doesn’t try to play ‘god of Nigerian football’, he simply tells his stories covering the beautiful round leather game, and we look forward to reading more in the sequel.