The 2014 World Cup in Brazil has ended for the Super Eagles of Nigeria courtesy of a 2- nil loss to France, and every Nigerian would agree that it wasn’t a good outing for the team. However while some would argue that it was a poor performance and the team fell far short of expectations, others will argue that the players did their best and it wasn’t Nigeria’s worst performance at the World Cup. But whichever side You are on, there are lessons to be learnt from Nigeria’s performance in Brazil, not just about football but about life itself
It Is Okay To Aim at the Moon but Make Sure You Have a Rocket That Can Actually Get There
I like that popular Maxim that says “aim for the moon, if you miss you might land among the stars.” It is great to dream and in fact every wonderful thing that we see around us today is as a result of a dream someone somewhere had. However there is a reason why it is recommended for people embarking on projects (winning the world cup is a project mind) to do a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) analysis so that they can limit their dreams to what they have at hand. The NFF gave the target of the World Cup semi final to Keshi, which, given the country’s status as African Champions and the huge talent pool we “have” isn’t too much of a tall order. But as a coach Keshi who should know better (since he watches the players day in day out) allowed the passion of 170 million Nigerians to force him to declare the semi final dream possible when he knew the team he had at hand was a round of 16 team at best (if he didn’t then he’s a bad manager ). In the end the team lost out in the second round and disappointed every Nigeria. The responses ranged from the optimists who recognized that our expectations should have been more modest in the first place (at least they tried, they reached the round of 16) to the angry and the bitter (that was a totally rubbish performance from rubbish players and a rubbish coach alike). In the end Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the USA football team is a hero, for the doing the exact thing Nigerians are now abusing Stephen Keshi for. That is what unrealistic expectations do to you. Unreal expectations can make what is actually success, look like failure. It is okay to shoot for the moon but make sure your rocket has enough fuel to get there. In other words cut your coat according to your cloth,
Have a Plan B Because Life Is a Bitch
The reason why insurance business is big business is that life is just an asshole like that. At some point in their lives, everybody is going to have that period which like Job in the Bible everything is going to go wrong, and it won’t be anything you have done. Life, being the arsehole that it is, would just look at you, shrug, and screw you over big time. Like we saw at the World Cup just as Michael Babatunde got into his element, he got at the wrong end of a shot that broke his arm, from his own teammate of all people. And then as if it wasn’t bad enough, in the game against France, Ogenyi Onazi, who was one of Nigeria’s best players on the field that day, got his leg broken, by a Blaise Matuidi who, to add insult to injury, only got a yellow card. If that is not bad luck I wonder what else is.
But it wasn’t Onazi’s injury that cost us the game; it was Keshi’s response to it. Now this is not a football analysis piece so I won’t argue over what Keshi should have done or should have not done, but whatever Keshi did, it didn’t work. The inability to respond effectively to such a screw up in our plans made us lose a game where victory was in our sights. The lesson here is that praying “deliver us from evil” will not deliver you from all evil. It is how you respond when life gives that blow that sends you sprawling to the canvas that determine if you will be a success or a failure. Whatever you are planning to do, always make sure you have a solid backup plan, as an older aunt of mine would say “in case of incasities.”
Kill Your Enemy When You Have the Upper Hand.
The 15th law of Power according to Robert Greene says: “Crush Your Enemy” totally.” if you dillydally with your competitor as Nigeria did with France he is going to discover your weakness and use it to destroy you. We often complain that life is unfair, like the super Eagles players might complain that football is cruel given that the French were on the backfoot for most of the game, yet they won 2-0, but the super Eagles have only themselves to blame they had many opportunities to score from freekicks and corner kicks but they failed to utilize them, but the French who were less inclined to be gracious, used their own opportunities wisely and duly won the game. It is incredibly foolhardy behaviour a man to believe that the well of opportunity will never dry, and the more he passes up opportunities the more opportunities he will continue to get . Like we all saw in the world cup, you might be the top dog, but the enemy is waiting for you to make a slip so that he can move in and deliver the knockout blow
With Risk Comes Reward, Faint Heart Never Wins Fair Lady
One thing everybody who has dissected Nigeria’s world cup performance has talked about is the team’s lack of a creative player. What is creativity? Creativity is simply to do something no one else has done/can do/is afraid to do. The creative person is the one who can see an opportunity that others cannot see. A creative person the person who knows that if he tries a new thing he might fail and receive abuse, but who also knows he might succeed and receive acclaim. Blaise Matuidi’s tackle on Ogenyi Onazi could have gone two ways. He could have been sent off, which means France could have played with 10 men and likely lost the game(in which case he would have been the villain), or as it happened he could have escaped with a mere yellow card and still managed to neutralize Nigeria’s greatest midfield threat and helped his team win the game. it is not that this piece is supporting such unlawful and violent behaviour what I am trying to point out is that while it is safe to do things by the book, it helps a great deal to have a creative thinker who goes ahead to do the unthinkable, to grab the bull by the horns. Everybody who is big today took huge risks because as the proverb goes “faint heart never wins a fair lady”