Saturday 3 July 2010

Thought Picnic: Cometh the moment

Unable because he could not
When Yakubu Aiyegbeni missed that shot [1] for an open goal in the Nigeria v South Korea World Cup march, I believe I was one of the few who could really understand what had really happened.
It was not that Mr. Aiyegbeni was not a fantastic footballer but that the unfortunate and inevitable ravages of the length of existence on earth had impacted on his agility and reflexes when opportunity demanded of them most.
For a sportsman, Mr. Aiyegbeni is extremely fit for his age and quite a envy of any of his real peers but between the reality and the legality of what he portends to be, he can attract both sympathy and derision – on that day, the moment came for the man to be there but he could not be there to seize it.
Unable because he did not
Yesterday, the hopes of the whole of Africa fell on the ability of Ghana to make history in their game against Uruguay.
Regardless of the dishonest activities of the Uruguayan player, they were presented with the golden opportunity in the dying minutes of the game to seize the moment, a penalty following the sending off of a player for handling a ball that was destined for the goal.
A cool and collected player knowing what was at stake could have shrugged off the weight of expectation and done what is usually expected of a penalty kick – sink it into the back of the net and receive the laurels of glory from that day henceforth.
Asamoah Gyan stepped up [2] to take the last kick of the march and sent it to the bar, bad luck, tough luck or lacking a sense of the moment – the rest is history, Uruguay went on to take the march in a penalty shoot-out.
That was not the moment
Mr. Gyan, who eventually scored a penalty during the shoot-out must have thought he had redeemed himself but really when the moment came, he was not there and having another opportunity is not necessarily passing the test of the original moment.
It then the makes you wonder how the moment came for the continent of Africa to host the World Cup and 6 African countries had the moments of their footballing representation to send the word out that we had arrived.
It would appear Africa had just been hired to host the World Cup jamboree and we are nowhere near where recognition can have its due significance matched with results.
On reflection with sadness
It saddens me to recall a few lines from what Lord Lugard said of Africans [3] almost 90 years ago in his book, The Dual Mandate - His thoughts are concentrated on the events and feelings of the moment, and he suffers little from the apprehension for the future or grief for the past … He lacks the power of organization, and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control alike of men or business; he loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility; he will work hard with a less incentive than most races … He has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue.
In conclusion, this is what was probably the most interesting - Perhaps the two traits which have impressed me as those most characteristic of the African native are his lack of apprehension and his lack of ability to visualize the future.
Cometh the moment...
Without contention, some teams really did put their backs in it with very little reward for their pains, a football team requires most of all, organisation; the coach can only do so much from the side-lines, the team must work as one.
Did Ghana not exhibit the courage of a fighting animal but somewhere in the scheme of things which might have included not practising spot kicks, the future was not visualised and when the moment came, history was made for entirely the wrong reasons.
There are many perspectives to these events and this might be one of the least charitable of them all, but well, that is just the way things are – these thoughts were inspired by a conversation with a friend.
Cometh the moment but where is the man?

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