Category Archives: Football

My Tomas Rosicky

Christianity is Life but Football is like a religion to me. There are many gods that have graced the sport even to the extent that they are worshipped. One of such gods is Tomas Rosicky – who retired in December 2018.

Last year I had a fellowship with the Gooners at the Emirates when Brighton and Hove Albion visited. It was the sole reason I took a 12 hours road trip from the North crossing through Glasgow and Manchester to have that feeling of the Emirates.

While I sat beside another Gooner who came from Nottingham (Lord Bendtner’s villa), I wished I was watching Tomas Rosicky playing. Although I spent most of my free thoughts making the unfair comparison with the league in Nigeria, I was in awe with the atmosphere at the stadium.

I started watching Arsenal week in and out in higher school and that was when Tomas Rosicky came into my life. A wonderful goal at the 2006 World Cup and those goals against Liverpool started the love.

Although I love jersey #8, I had respect for his jersey #7. Inherited from Robert Pires, seeing that number on the team sheet signifies that there is hope that something electric will happen.

People idolize Messi, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Henry et al but Rosicky is my choice. A professional and a proper football, blessed with pace and wise at feet. Nimble footed, he was an accelerator and could turn everything around in seconds.

While it is sad that he was cut short by injury, his 10+ years at Arsenal ended with 2 FA Cup trophies for his worries.

The way he runs and how his hair bounces on his head was a beauty. His outside foot shot was his trademark and was used against Spurs more than once.

With a smile always, he was influential in the dressing room and was solely missed when he was injured for about 2 years. I want to smile like him even when the storm is on. His sliding tackles were lovely and I enjoy doing that to issues that come my way.

I had hoped to travel to see him play for his boyhood club but I will make do with a handshake with him. Roger Federer and Arsene Wenger are two others I would love to get such treatment. When will I meet all three? Add Nicklas B to make them four. Chuckles.

This is not a sports blog but this shows how much Tomas Rosicky means to me. I will make a big poster of him and my kids will know about the Little Mozart. Can anyone replace him in my heart?

Happy Retirement Tomas Rosicky. Remain in the sport and inspire a generation.

With love.

I have wanted to write this since December 2018.

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Don’t Write Yourself Off

The most popular soap opera in the world came to an end few days ago with a relatively unknown team clinching the title under the noses of more established, popular and pundit-approved teams. Leicester City were crowned champions of the 2015/16 Premier League.

In case you are not a football person, let me break it down for you. The most popular football brands across the universe include but not limited to Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and recently Manchester City. The last 5 aforementioned names play in the English Premier Leagues and they command worldwide respect and innumerable fans with so much support.

By this time last year, Leicester City just survived relegation. They were grateful for not dropping out of the league. A year later, they are celebrating their first ever league title. Nobody predicted on the first of the league that they would be champions. Bookmakers and pundits had Arsenal and Manchester City as their expected champions but life is result oriented and not just speculations.

Too many times in life, we are faced against the odds. We are told “it cannot be done”, “it has never been done”, “you are not experienced enough”, “you don’t have a chance”, “”you are still new”, “you can’t understand”, “do you have somebody?”, “you don’t have first class”, “you are this”, “you are that”.

Too many times, the audience try to demoralize you even before you start. Friends and colleagues give you more reasons why you will fail rather than provide encouragement for success. Relatives talk down on your chances. You are left with you and yourself. Even your feelings could suggest you don’t even give it try.

You cannot succeed if you don’t try. You can’t triumph with a try. You have no chance at all if you write yourself off and refuse to try. You have look at the positives and bank on them as you make the journey to conquer. David had a sling and 5 stones, Goliath was fully armoured. Gideon needed just 300 men.

Leicester City needed Raineri, Mahrez, Vardy and Kante – and they succeeded. They had no Ozil, Hazard, Rooney nor Aguero. These were football players that could have won the title for their teams. They are highly paid and highly respected. Nobody looked at Leicester City just as nobody may care that you exist but they continued diligently. Even when the world said they would buckle, they remained strong.

Be diligent and remain focused. Never allow the mini-success to distract you from the ultimate goal. Enjoy the underdog label and grab thy price. Success has a lot of friends and unlikely success is a joy to the heart. You sure need a core and Jesus is the best.

Leicester City didn’t write themselves off. Hibernian didn’t write themselves off against Rangers despite failing to win in 114 years. Atletico Madrid didn’t shrink away from Barcelona and Real Madrid. Buhari didn’t give up to PDP.

Don’t write yourself off. Give it a try first.

Lessons from AFCON 2013

Some sundays ago, the African continent witnessed the emergence of a new champion of the highest footballing tournament in the continent: The African Cup of Nations. Nigeria had defeated the stallions of Burkina Faso to emerge champions.
You can read up my summary and analysis of the Nigerian AFCON 2013 success on Soccergunz but right here I would point at some lessons I learnt.
1. Don’t underrate anybody: The ouster of some big soccer countries like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Zambia in the group stage was surprising. More surprising is the qualification of debutant Cape Verde, Burkina Faso and Togo.
2. Every dog has his day, even the underdog: against all odds, Nigeria and Burkina Faso defeated favorites Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana to progress to the semis and finals respectively. Nigeria and the Burkina-babe were the underdogs.
3. Experience isn’t just enough, where is the drive? The elephants of cote d’ivoire had experience on their side with great popular players but they met a purpose driven Nigerian Team. Same can be said of Ghana and South Africa’s exit.
4. Two heads are better than one: the better teams were those that had a few individualistic player but played as a team. Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria are the epitome of my point.
5. Criticism must come, but just believe: Stephen Keshi was heavily criticized by the media and fans of Nigeria, but he believed in his team and the Gold is in Nigeria.
I have so many other lessons learnt but let’s see yours in the comment.

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