Atonye and Me in Istanbul

When your away from home so long it’s always nice being around anything familiar.

This past weekend when I found out my college teammate, Atonye Nyingifa and friend of about 10 years now had a game in Istanbul, I had to meet up with her. She’s currently playing for the Nigerian national team and had an exhibition game against the Turkish national team in preparation for the World Cup Championship coming up. For those of you who don’t know, Atonye and I came into UCLA together and were roommates our first two years of college have been friends since.

Atonye and me at a team dinner freshman year, 2008

Thankfully Istanbul is only a 50 minute flight and I had the day off so I was able to see her play. Also on her team is my former teammate from last season, Aisha Mohammed and on the Turkish national team, Ilayda Guner who I also played with last year. So it was cool I got to see them as well.

Aisha and I snapped a selfie after the game

The Turkish national team got the best of the Nigerian national team but all of my former teammates performed well as usual. After the game I was able to ride back with Atonye and her team to the hotel, and they welcomed me to have dinner with them. Which I really appreciated because about half of the players on the team are American Nigerians so it was really nice to be around other Americans for the first time in three weeks also.

I would definitely say it was a successful day off. Going to Istanbul was a great refresher and piece of home for the weekend. I was able to watch some basketball and be around some familiar faces and of course the best part was getting to meet up with Atonye.

Atonye and me after her game


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