For a moment, that Filipino driver might have imagined himself to be a striker surrounded by intimidating defenders. The ball is under his feet, but he doesn’t know where to go! The person in question was the driver of the media bus which was going to Lusail after the match between Ghana and Uruguay. It was only a 30-minute drive, but we had been sitting in the bus for more than 45 minutes. Finally, someone from the back row shouted at the top of his voice: “Friends we have lost the way!”
Suddenly there was pandemonium inside the bus. Brazil’s final game in the group stage against Cameroon will begin in 15 minutes. Most of the journalists in the bus were going to cover that match. As the bus meandered through Doha streets, the journalists started swearing in their languages. The driver was at his wits’ end trying to figure out how to reach the destination without delay. The Lusail Stadium, bathed in light, can be seen at a distance, but as the earth orbits the sun, the bus was aimlessly circling around it, unable to find the entrance to the arena.
It was then a woman journalist came to the rescue of the poor driver. She opened the Google Maps application in her mobile and started giving directions to the driver. Like a robot, he followed her instructions. As some journalists were growing impatient, they also came forward to help the driver.
Finally, the bus reached the Lusail Stadium, 10 minutes after the kick-off! The driver kept his head down as he was embarrassed by the unkind comments made by the scribes. Everyone in the bus grabbed their laptops and cameras and rushed to the stadium. They did not forget to thank the female journalist whose timely intervention avoided further delay. She was Mariana, a reporter with the popular Brazilian television channel Globo Internacional. Globo, which is the official broadcaster of the World Cup in Brazil, has sent a 70-strong media contingent to Qatar.
I bade goodbye to Mariana and wished good luck to Brazil. Unfortunately, Brazil lost the match. After the match got over, I avoided the media bus as I didn’t want to get lost once again! Besides, I felt awkward to face Mariana after Brazil’s shock defeat.