LIFE LESSONS FROM THE DEMYSTIFICATION OF THE BRAZILIAN FOOTBALL TEAM.
On Tuesday July 8, 2014, something monumental happened in the whole World, not just in the football World. Because on that date, billions of viewers all over the World( active and passive lovers of football) were shocked, some to their bone marrows, as Germany demolished and apparently humiliated, one of the greatest (some even say the greatest) footballing Nations in the World. Many were in utter disbelief and many people wept. My heart melted when I saw the young boy wearing glasses and decked in Brazilian colors burst into tears as he saw his beloved team crumble like a pack of cards. For years many had seen Brazil as invincible in football. Yes, they may never win the World cup all the time, but they are the country that has won the cup more times than any other in the World Cup history. They may lose a match, but never to be so humiliated, to concede seven goals, not at a practice session, not at the preliminary stage of the World Cup but at the semifinal of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Unbelievable! Unthinkable!
Though I played football in my younger days and was popularly known as "Jimmy Pele" in my Secondary School,I can never claim nor pretend to be an expert in football strategy or tactics. I believe that the 7-1 drubbing of Brazil by the "German Machine" will enter into the Guinness book of World records and that tons of commentaries, analysis and reviews will be written perhaps by better qualified analysts on what happened on that fateful day. Indeed, I believe that several doctoral thesis will emerge from the 'Brazilian Debacle' in São Paulo. However as I was putting together some of the the lessons that I and many can learn from this historical, unprecedented and totally unpredicted event, my friend Eghe Emmanuel Eyieyien sent me a mail, outlining some of the life lessons that in his opinion must be drawn from the incident. His views substantially enriched mine and I will like to share them with you.
1. IN LIFE'S GAME, YOUR REPUTATION AND TRACK RECORD CAN BE ILLUSORY......
If we were to trust in reputation and track record, no prophet, no diviner, no pundit could ever predict this debacle. Yes, the possibility of Brazil losing the match was always there but to have lost with such goal difference and indeed to have crumpled within the first ten minutes of the game could not have been predicted, judging from the reputation and track record of Brazil. So in life's game, track record can become irrelevant. It may never be good enough for today. So in confronting your enemy never be overawed by his reputation and track record. There is always an underbelly weakness and everybody has his bad day!
2. REHEARSALS AND PRACTICE EVENTS ARE HELPFUL BUT WHAT YOU EVENTUALLY DO ON THE D-DAY IS WHAT REALLY COUNTS.
No body who watched Brazil practice and rehearse their strategy for the match against Germany could predict the disaster. So preparing for events and encounter are important, but they must never lead us to complacency. The d-day is the day and we must recruit all the forces and resources to exceed our best shadow performance. The dynamics of real battle are never the same as for mock battle, because in real battle, we use real hard lead bullets and not rubber bullets.
3. THERE IS REALLY NO ONE BORN AS AN 'UNDER DOG' IN LIFE. EVERYONE HAS A CHANCE TO SUCCEED IN LIFE DESPITE ALL ODDS.
True life is a game of chance. Yes circumstances can conspire against us. Sometimes it looks like all the odds are against us and that it is pouring and not raining. There is no one guaranteed to succeed or to fail all the time. Times and chance happen to all. We all have the chance to succeed or to fail. Much of it depends on us and the strength of the opposing forces at the particular time , not dis counting Divine providence.
4. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOUR OPPONENT
In life it is always a fatal mistake to underestimate your opponent. Goliath can bear witness to this. If you must win, overestimate your opponent but confront him from a superior position. Never be afraid of your opponent. Conventional wisdom is to respect your opponent, believing that he too has worked hard to win,but ensure you have a superior arsenal backed with superior skills.
5. DO NOT OVERRATE YOURSELF
That can be as dangerous as underestimating your opponent. Overrating yourself may bring complacency or pride. Of course pride comes before a fall. Don't always believe the hype. There was a top dog before you who is now referred as 'former' or 'ex'. If you want to remain in the limelight you must insist on improving your game from day to day and please measure!
6. A TREE OR TWO CAN SOMETIMES MAKE A FOREST
'Two heads are better than one' is conventional wisdom but now we know that 'one good head is better than ten coconut heads'. No one can deny that the absence of Neymar and that of the captain of the Brazilian team- Thiago Silva on the pitch that night, made so much difference. Indeed Argentina knows the value of 'Messi' in their success in the World camp. They won the silver and Messi was key. So guys, when you find good guys in your team or business do your best to keep and protect them. All heads are not equal, because some are more equal than others.
7. YOU SET YOUR OWN LIMIT
Is anything impossible with God?. Man can really do much better than his current attainments, no matter how high. Indeed if you can dream it, you can attain it. But if you say you can't, then you won't. You are the obstacle between you and your dream. Germany could easily have scored twelve goals that night but they chose to stop at Seven because they thought that was already 'too high'.
8. NO MATTER THE NUMBER OF SUPPORTERS, YOU ARE ALONE ON THE FIRING LINE
If supporters could win a match, the Brazilian team could have been saved from the humiliation on the 8th of July. Over 80% of the Spectators in the stands were either Brazilians or supporters of the Brazilian team. They sang, shouted and cried. But not much changed. Yes public opinion and public support is necessary but your first and most important focus must be on the hens that lay the eggs. When the chips are down,the crowds will move on,so do not count too much on their support. Infact those who shouted 'Hossana 'today, may be the same ones who will shout 'crucify him' tomorrow .
9. EVEN WHEN YOU FALL,YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE ....unless...
...You have chosen to be become a failure by staying down. Do like the Brazilian Coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari who held his head high, consoled his players and hugged the German Players. That's the stuff of men who will rise again. Men like Dr John Kayode FAYEMI, Governor of EKITI State who in defeat shone like a star.
10. IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS TO GOD.... It could be worse.
Do like the Brazilian players who knelt down publicly and worshipped God despite their monumental loss. There is Tomorrow and if you work harder and pray harder, you will ultimately win since the down fall of a man is not the end of his life. Nothing in life should lead us to feel it is over, because it is never over until it is over. We still have 2018 in Russia and I predict that Brazil will return with a vengeance that may stun the World, perhaps much more than the historic loss of 2014.
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR