Saturday, May 28, 2011
It was the kind of night that reminded us all why we fell in love with the game of football. It was called the match of the decade by many pundits, and so it proved to be. Wembly was the turf for two of football's greatest gladiators to battle for size, tussle for glory and contest for a place in the history books. At the end of 90 minutes of glorious art of football, Barcelona had the last laugh, and Manchester United were left to wonder what could have been. It was the old wizard, Sir Alex Ferguson who declared that he knew what went wrong with his team in 2009, after they were outclassed by the immense craftiness and undettered dexterity of Barcelona. Two years later, it is either Fergie learnt nothing, or that he couldn't apply his lessons to twart the sheer class of the catalans. It was an humilating defeat for the red devils. They had no reply to curtail the wonder of Messi, the inventories of Xavi, the creativity of Iniesta, the genius of Pedro and the beauty of Villa. As Barca caressed the ball with a touch that equates sublimity, the likes of Rooney and Vidic toiled in futility. Rooney's equalizer in the first half gave United a ray of hope, but like a false hope, it vanished within seconds. United were held in the awe of Barca's class. At times, they wondered what had hit them. Not even having the advantage of playing at Wembly could salvage their pathetic display. As Fergie delighted in his gum-chewing, he mirrored the image of a man tormented by a myriad of forces, yet had no answers. His 70-year old body began to tell on him, as his heart raced at a pace that beats the speed of light. His legacy remains intact, but his nemesis will always be remembered to be Barcelona. For Pep Guardiola and Barcelona, they are etching closer to that tag of being 'the greatest team ever'. They ooze a class that engage the imagination in perpetual wonder. The luxury of talents in their team beats reason and begs the question: who can match them? Indeed, it was the sought of night that reminded us all why we fell in love with football in the first place!
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The last ten months have been a tale of intrigues, a story of sheer twists and turns, and moments of football at it's finest. The curtain has been finally drawn upon the 2010/2011 Barclays English Premier League Season, and irrespective of the team that turns you on, it has surely been a memorable season. Conventions were brought to it's knees, as Manchester United defied the odds to win an unprecedented 19th league throphy. United's emergence as champions was due to a matrix of reasons. The dexterity of Sir Alex Ferguson, the inconsistencies of their rivals and the sheer will of the team, conspired to make them champions again. For Chelsea, it was a season of regrets. From churning out 'playstation' football in September, they became a bunch of mediocres by December. Not even the record-breaking signing of Fernando Torres could conjure the Champions League trophy. Just hours after the season ended, Carlo Ancelotti's reign as manager was halted. Fate consigned him to the pathetic ending of his predecessors. Indeed, Manchester City was also another team that had an exquisite season. The blue half of Manchester only bargained for a place in the top four. However, their money gave them more. The team finished third, and as if that was not enough to get the party started, the 'noisy neigbhors' also won the FA cup. For Arsenal, it was same old story. In January, the gunners were in all competitors, but by the end of March, their hopes were vanished, and the six years wait for a throphy lingered on. There are a litany of excuses to plead Arsenal's case, but the fans have probably heard them all before. Even Arserné Wenger admitted these flaws in his vastly talented but extremely vulnerable team. Without mincing words, the season was an unmitigated disaster for the gunners. Although the rest of the teams in the league also have their own stories to tell, this was the summation of the top four teams performances. The 2010/2011 season has been a great advert for the beautiful game of football. It has toiled with our hearts at times, it has brought us untold joy at times, it has rewarded us with heartbreaks at times, it has raptured us to the seventh heaven at times, it has made us go bonkers at times. In all, it was superb. We can only hope that next season can beat it, in terms of drama and exictement. Bring it on!!!
Friday, May 13, 2011
Established in 1973, the National Youth Service Corps scheme was the brainchild of then military head of state, Yakubu Gowon. The idea was hinged on the need for national integration and service to the nation. However, 38 years later, the scheme appears to have outlived it's uses, and the amount of criticisms that have trailed it are simply too much that attempting to do a rehash here will be presenting a loopsided picture. The pain in their eyes said it all. Their hearts were torn beyond repair, and untold tears became strange bedfellows for all of them overnight. Hosted in the luxury of Aso rock, they refused to taste any substance. Not even the thought of the president being their host was enough to bring them solace. And after being consoled by rhetorics of how they have become fathers and mothers of national heroes and heroines, a paltry PROMISE of five million naira was doled out to each of them. That was the pathetic story of the families of the slained Corps members. The Corps members were victims of a battered democratic system. The latest uprising in the north that led to their cruel fate has become an issue of national concern. Thus, a mere promise that the pepetrators of the mayhem would be brought to book is one that should be taken with caution. Though a panel has been set up to investigate the issue, this uprising in the north has become one too many. Moreover, if history is anything to go by, then the chances of we seeing the pepetrators being brought before the law, is very slim. What have become of the investigations into the death cases of Dele Giwa? Bola Ige? Funsho Williams? To mention but a few. Without mincing words, the feasible options to solving the NYSC quagmire will be to allow graduates serve in their geo-political zones or for the scheme to be entirely scrapped. What the final outcome of the debate will be remains to be seen. However, for Jonathan and his 22 man panel, this is not an issue to be treated with kid gloves, this is not a case to play politics with, this is not a matter to spare sacred cows. Justice, and only justice will do.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Where did he come from? He who touched our hearts and vanished. He who held our moments, he who piloted our vision. In scorching sun, he was like a patch of shade, in screaming rain, he was like a poise cover, in an endless desert, like an oasis, on a bruised heart, like a soothing balm was he. He wandered lonesome as a cloud, he held a dream that our hearts could not contain. He kindled and departed, he sparked and eloped, he dazzled and fizzled out. Before we came into today, he saw tommorow. He dared conventions, altered notions and defied paths. Adieu seems the hardest words to conjure. Even in all your ingenuities, you forgot to wave goodbye, at least, that could have kept our minds abreast of the impending doom, your demise. Now, our faces will wander to find it's smiles, our hearts will stray to find it's sparkle again, our days will toil to find it's rhythm, and our nights must now find comfort in strange hands. Journey in peace, and always remember that our thoughts, our fond memories, our tears, they all travel with you!
Monday, May 2, 2011
Her eyes feasted upon the paintings that graced the wall, a wall that held bitter memories for her, a wall whose sight provoked the formation of tears in her tender and innocent eyes. It was upon this wall that her parents were killed the hard way, in one of the excruciating ethno-religious conflict that occured in her country. That was a score ago, and the battle with the thought had led her away from Nigeria, to find peace in the cold hands of the uncertain. In the land of the skyscrappers, she sought to find love beneath the silky skin of the whiteman. But, all her attempts to divorce herself from reality had only succeeded in compounding her woes. With a conviction that transcends all doubts, she returned home. Her straying imaginations that were trapped on the paintings upon the wall were led back to reality by the taxi driver that flaunted his trade just outside the airport. Dressed in an attire that betrayed his occupation, the taxi driver with immense politeness led her into the car. She marvelled at this courtesy that came from one that was suppossed to be rash. As he drove her to her destination with panache, she was amazed at how the country had changed. From a land she once knew as a haven for everything that was bad, it had now become an el dorado. She wondered at the good roads, the cleanliess of the streets, the orderliness in which the pedestrians conducted themselves, the lighting everywhere. She wondered if her eyes were decieving her, if those sily imaginations were playing pranks on her again. As if the taxi driver was reading her thoughts, he assured her that things had changed in the country since the new transition in governance. As she came off the taxi, the bright sun of Lagos poured it's richness upon her ponytail hair and the fresh air that was once an illussion in the country greeted her tired body. Now, with a resolve that beats scepticism, a will made of stern and a conviction that shocks pessimism, she was poised to be part of the change in her nation, Nigeria, the beautiful!