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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

FINISHING STRONG: KNOWING WHEN TO QUIT IN FOOTBALL AND POLITICS

Every starting point has an ending point. A man born on a date has a date with death. The glamour of a race is not just on the starting but the propensity to finish strong. The wisdom and omniscient nature of Almighty God is captured in Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 in the paradox of there’s time for everything…… God is a perfect God and certainly beyond mistakes and reproach. The challenge is that man tries to play God or even challenge nature which is God’s secret.

In football, most footballers started playing as teens through group stages for their countries. While some drop at the teen, some cross teen and graduate to twenties and drop their boots,  some get to thirties, forties, fifties and sixties. Some drop their careers in their twenties and thirties to become coaches and football administrators leaving the stage for stronger, capable, fit and better footballers to carry on. Some reasons why great footballers hang their boots and jerseys early could be because of early injuries, fatigue, loss of form and mental incapacitations. For mental incapacitation, it will be awful seeing a footballer turning round, facing his goalkeeper and delivering an intercontinental ballistic missile shot ( credit to late ace footballer commentator, Mr Ernest Okonkwo). Listening to your body language, medical advice and family opinion is crucial in ending careers.

Today, the oldest footballer is 60 years old and that’s Robert Carmona of Club Hacele Un Gol A La Vida,  a 4th-tier Club in Uruguay.  Kazuyoshi Miura popularly known as King Kazu of Yokohama, Japan is 55 years old. He retired from international football after the 1998 World Cup after scoring 55 goals for the country in 89 matches and knew the importance of quitting International Football while the ovation was loudest. Essam El-Hadary, an Egyptian goalkeeper is 50 years old and still playing. At 42 years, Roger Milla featured in the 1994 world cup scoring a goal and still to date the oldest player to score at the World Cup finals.

Let’s look at the following footballers who did justice to the round leather game but had to quit early because they knew it was time to exit the stage. Maverick Eric Cantona left the game prematurely at age 30 due to injury. Daring Marco Van Basten painfully quit football at 28 years of age, again due to injury. Incredible headmaster Zinadin Zidane hung his boot at 32 out of choice having won all available trophies including the prestigious World Cup making room for the younger ones to take over while now working as a coach to groom stars, add value to the beautiful game and bring joy to lovers of football.

In politics just like football, some European and Western leaders are young like the French President and United Kingdom Prime Minister while the likes of current US President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are in their late 70s but strong, healthy and mentally alert. They are still pushing without goofing. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is in mid 80 still exhuming confidence,  mental and physical alertness and exceptionally strong to vie for the presidency if the constitution allows it.

Old age is grace. Everyone prays to get old so that will not constitute a burden and nuisance to dependants. Like football, it’s good to know when to quit politics to avoid self and family degradation. It’s good to know when to say NO to sycophants and wicked entities pushing and knowing fully well you own your body and can understand it better. It’s good to be man enough to know when to hang your boot if whenever you touch the ball in the field of politics, spectators will boo at you waiting for your next goofing. It’s good for an ageing captain in a drenched match to know when to signal the technical crew to get a replacement,  transfer your captain band and leave the pitch with standing ovations.  It’s good to know when to sit back, having gotten enough playing and technical experience, aimed at selecting and raising a new generation of skilful players than struggling shirts and playing time with outstanding players you raised. It’s trite to know that it’s time to hang up the boot when you “magically” start scoring against your own goalkeeper consistently and still insist on playing. In this situation, the fans that push on playing the mentally disabled player are the worst culprits. The family of the inverse player are criminals, wicked and ultimately hate their patriarch. The players under review do not have the physical strength of Roberto Carmona, King Kazu, El-Hadary or Roger Milla. They are injured already like Marco Van Basten and lack the mental alertness of Obasanjo, Biden and Trump and yet refuse to leave the pitch. Worst still, they have the debacle of alleged corrupt tendencies hanging around them. 

These undeniably skilful, experienced and exposed Captains of APC and PDP should quit the field for the youthful, energetic, intelligent and shrewd Labour Party Candidate to complete the race. Skill, experience and exposure alone can’t sustain you in the tedious and turbulent race rather character, competence, capacity and capabilities are required for the finishing line. In football, you don’t ask where a good player is from, rather you are glued to what he did in previous matches and look forward to what he will do in subsequent games. A good, capable and healthy captain plays 90 full minutes the way PO has performed in Anambra, stood all through at Chatham House meeting, running around the country for rallies, never goofing, courageous, empathic, taking questions himself without delegating and remaining in Nigeria without running to Dubai. As a wonderful player, he has brought value to his club LP and fan base than ripping them off as governor unlike some that are still milking their states via questionable pension schemes and those skilled in selling off our commonwealth assets and whom his former boss refused to endorse. 

A safe flight is a flight that took off and landed safely. The ill-fated flight could occur when the Pilot refuses to take directives or instructions from the control towers. The ability to obey directives ensures a safe flight. Our dear APC and PDP have started the flight,  let them listen to the control tower made up of over 100m poor Nigerians, unlucky Nigerian students, out-of-school children, exposed and unsecured citizens, unemployed but employable Nigerians,  victims of fuel shortages,  hunger ravaged Nigerians and helpless citizens and don’t fly. They are called structures and Control Towers Directors determined to crash the flight of these two having declared their grounded aircraft unfit and dangerous. 

Peter Obi is a younger player representing an unserved region, positioned to break back-to-back Muslim presidency, armed with requisite exposure as a seasoned captain that commands the respect of club and fans alike and a versatile player without baggage. Peter Obi has a capacity vice-captain that’s inform called Dr Yusuf Ahmed-Datti. Vice is as good as the captain with everything going for him. Both represent the face of a new Nigeria that works for all where equity, justice and fairness are served. Come 25th February, I solemnly declare that day as a pulling-out parade day for our highly respected former Captains, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Atiku (BATA). Like the former BATA Company known for premium leather footwear and unknown to the present generation, our votes will confine them to the thrash can of history. Like football, it’s good to know when to quit. BATA are like cars that jumped bad potholes. Some potholes will give you the opportunity to park well and check your car while dangerous potholes will automatically park you…..let us automatically PARK these men. Peter Obi is the real deal. Vote OBIDATTI.  Vote LP…! Vote Mama! Pikin! Papa! … see you on May 29th to gloriously usher in the good governance and responsible leadership that will turn around our fortune and cause Nigerians to rejoice.

HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE THIS? 

First, I know that truth and conscience are sacred and open wounds. Am aware, very much aware that most of the people following these retired Captains daily will vote PO. Am further assured and can bet that PO will win at the Aso Rock polling booth. Am convinced beyond words that the current victims of Nigeria State earlier mentioned will vote for PO.

Am further reassured that the traumatized middle belters praying for the end of insurgency and slaughtering will vote for PO so as to return home and continue with their farming.  The very rationale and balanced Muslims that sees reason for power to go to a Christian President of southern extraction will vote for PO and by extension, the Christians themselves will vote for PO. Unarguably, those that believe that power should return to the South and to the marginalized Southeast will vote for PO. Our understanding brothers from South-south having taken a shot at the Presidency with the support of the Southeast will vote for PO. Members of the Nigerian Labour Congress with an institutionalized structure yet impoverished in 774 LGAs will vote for PO to change their sad narratives. Those impressed by PO’s revelation about rot in our oil industry and for a better tomorrow will vote for PO. The votes of Nigerians waiting for a complete turnaround of our economy from consumption to production will vote for PO. Our diaspora running and sweating to maintain families in Nigeria and hoping to return to a better Nigeria will influence votes for PO. 

In essence, given the current scenarios of BIVAS,  no Government House will write votes or extraordinarily influence votes. The old acclaimed votes in the bank will be useless like just changed currencies as real figures will emerge from genuine votes and not written results. Old figures will be deflated and punctured and a new era will be enthroned. Voters will make statements aimed at taking back our country. On that, I doff my cap to President Muhammad Buhari for stabilizing our democracy by signing the 2022 Electoral Act and maintaining his neutrality. INEC must do the needful to save this country from avoidable calamity by discharging their duties professionally, creditably and meticulously to be on the good side of posterity. 

Congratulations ahead Mr Peter Obi, Dr Yusuf Ahmed-Datti and all progressive Nigerians dreaming of a better Nigeria. Remember the code is LP and the password is Mama Pikin Papa. 

Mazi Dr Agodi Kanu is an author, writer, political analyst, security consultant and Director General, Network for Advocacy and Good Leadership Initiative (NAGLI-APM), Email: agodi_kanu@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: 

The opinions and views expressed in this write-up are entirely that of the Writer(s). They do not reflect the opinions and views of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or any of its employees. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of materials herein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or its employees concerning the legal status of any country, its authority, area or territory or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers. Equally, the sketches, images, pictures and videos are gotten from the public domain.

NzeIkay
NzeIkayhttps://nzeikayblog.com
Nigeria is an Enigma. The capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of her is undoubtedly God’s endowment to us, her citizens. As a citizen of this lovely nation, I’ve spent decades of my life trying to understand this, Mirage. Hope someday, this Mystery that houses about 250 million blacks will be globally understood, widely accepted, and given the opportunity to play its vital role in the world stage. So, help us God! #NigeriaDeservesBetter #AfricaDeservesBetter

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