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Dreams will push you beyond limits

Dreams will push you beyond limits

Dreams simplified

Dreams are the fuels that carry us through the journey of life. Sometimes, the journey may seem rough and the road looks a bit bumpy. What keeps us going is the dream that gave birth to our initial momentum in life.

The beautiful dreams of Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne had always had the dream of becoming a top footballer while still playing at Belgian club Genk. The relatively unknown Belgian who had this fiery personality and a tenacious spirit experienced something that later on changed his entire career in 2009 while still with Genk.

In his first year with the Belgian club. He was made to live with a family, but due to his withdrawn attitude, the family informed the club that they do not want Kevin to stay with them anymore. The young Belgian was understandably upset and heartbroken.

 “People were saying that I wasn’t going to make it because of my poor character. I told myself at that point: ‘Let’s see who has the last word.”

Dream come true for Kevin De Bruyne or so it seemed

True to his word, Chelsea came calling for his services in 2012, and he later signed with the London club in a five years deal worth £6.7 Million. He was however faced with so many challenges while with Chelsea under coach Jose Mourinho, which left him with bitter memories.

His dreams of becoming a world-class footballer were almost becoming a nightmare, and he was eventually sold to  German Club VFL Wolfsburg in 2014. It was a move that ignited the full potential of the midfielder.

Dreams rekindled

At Wolfsburg, he made a whopping 21 assist in the 2014/15 football season and break the Bundesliga assist record in the process. He ended the season with 28 assists in all competition and was voted the 2015 German footballer of the year. In August 2015, Manchester City acquired the services of the talented midfielder in a deal that surpassed the then club record (£55 million).

KDB shines brightly at Manchester City

Dreams do come true, and for Kevin De Bruyne, his dreams were already unfolding before his eyes. His amazing form in Manchester City’s colors has seen him amassing a total of 67 assists in 158 appearances.

He was recently voted UEFA Midfielder of the year, Premier League player of the season, and UEFA Men’s Player of the year award. The best is yet to come for the fiery Belgian who has also been in astounding form for the Belgian national team.

In reality, Dreams do come true, but in the process of achieving one’s dream, there would be challenges that need to be surmounted. There would be moments of doubts, days of uncertainty, dry spells, and even failure. But as long as we hold on to our dreams, we would achieve all we set our hearts to achieve.

The undying love of a wonderful mother

The undying Love of a wonderful mother

Love comes in different shades and colors. The love of a mother is one of the strongest love known to humanity. For Manchester City’s right full-back, Joao Cancelo, the love of his late mum has always remained indelible in his heart.

In 2013, while still playing with Benfica’s feeder team, Joao Cancelo who was then 18, experienced tragedy. Alongside his mom and his brother, they were on their way home. The mum Filomena, was on the wheel driving her Audi A3 when she lost control over the car and crashed.

Cancelo and his brother Pedro suffered minor injuries, but Filomena wasn’t so lucky. She died in the crash and it was a dark moment in the life of the young Joao Cancelo. The mum had always been a source of inspiration to the talented footballer. Always there to encourage him. Carrying him to training each day. Staying behind to watch him play.

Always there to lend the motherly affection and support where necessary. The beautiful Filomena was born in the town of Barreiro, she was Cancelo’s driving force as he fought to succeed in the game.

A devastated Joao Cancelo was broken and inconsolable. He took to his Facebook page to pen an emotional message to his late mum: “I lost the light of my life, my reason for living. I love you woman of my life, wherever you are I’m with you,”

“Always desire you to look after me and protect your father and brother. May be dead inside, but I will be strong and I will give you the greatest pride in the world

The young Joao started his football career with his local club, Barreirense. The mum who had always believed in his potential made sure she carried him in her car to training and match. At age 13, Joao he joined Portuguese giants Benfica’s youth set-up

Two months after the death of his mum, life was extremely difficult, for the young Portuguese U20 international. According to Joao,  “Before, it was she who came and take me to train. She helped me with everything. “After that moment when she was gone, there was no one waiting for me. I came home and went to bed crying. I have my mother in my heart and she continues to be present with me.”

Always keep moving

A year after the death of his mum, Cancelo made his debut for Benfica against Gil Vicente in the Portuguese League Cup. It was an emotional game for the young Portuguese, but he played brilliantly and Benfica won the game 1-0.

He then went on loan to Valencia, where the La Liga side having been impressed with his performance, paid a whooping  £13.8m on the right full-back. He went on to spend three successful seasons with the La Liga outfit from 2014-17.

A Grateful heart

Juventus soon scouted the talented defender and they moved quickly to secure his service in 2018. The Italian giant paid around £37m for Cancelo in a deal that saw him sign a five-year contract.

Cancelo had special tributes to his late mum who made his dream come true. A mother’s love can inspire an individual to do the impossible.
“I have a thank you for my brother, my sister, I have learned from all. But you, Mom, have been my incentive to achieve this goal in life. Your strength is mine, you are always with me. It’s all for you, Mom.”

Up there, am sure Filomena will be proud of his son who has gone on to play for the Portuguese senior national team and the English Premier League Champions, Manchester City. As a tribute to his beloved mum, each time Joao Cancelo scores, he points to the sky. A sign to thank his beautiful mum for all the affection she showed to him.

Akinfenwa inspire Wycombe Wanderers to the Championship

Akinfenwa inspire Wycombe Wanderers to the Championship

Waiting for people to inspire you to chase your dreams is a waste of time. You got to inspire yourself to pursue your goals. There are moments in life, where it seems all hope is lost. When nothing seems to be working. Those are moments one needs to look inward and never give in to discouragement.

Four years ago (2016), people said he was finished. But he refused to give up on himself. The player who is ranked amongst the biggest in English football at 102 Kg has got a story to share. His name is Saheed Adebayo Akinfenwaand he is a professional footballer presently plying his trade with newly-promoted Wycombe Wanderers.
In 2016, the 38 years old striker jokingly said he was technically unemployed after been released by AFC Wimbledon. The widely traveled footballer who has played for 15 clubs, is known for his physical strength and heavily built frame.

Akinfenwa the Journeyman

Akinfenwa started his football journey in Lithuania with FK Atlantas but was unable to settle down due to racial abuse. He quickly returned to the UK after just two seasons with the Lithuanian club and joined Welsh top side, Barry Town.

His football journey has seen him then move from Boston United, Leyton Orient, Rushden & Diamonds, Doncaster Rovers, Torquay United, Swansea City, Millwall, Northampton Town, Gillingham, and AFC Wimbledon.

Against all odds

Looking at him with his massive frame, one might be tempted to believe he won’t make a success of his football career. Unfortunately, he has defied all odds and has had an illustrious career spanning more than 20 years. He has so far made a total of 717 appearances, scoring 26 goals and winning numerous trophies and personal awards. He has had to battle against racism, abuse, and all sorts of challenges. In their Play-off match against Fleetwood, he was called “Fat Water Buffalo”, but they went ahead to win against all odds.

From technically unemployed to the Championship.

In 2016, Akinfenwa spoke with reporters in a live interview that he was technically unemployed, as his contract was up at AFC Wimbledon.

Fast forward to 2019, and the London born footballer of Nigerian descent inspired Wycombe wanderers to a place in the Championship after defeating Oxford United 2-1 in the playoffs.

If there is anything that has kept him going, it is the belief in his abilities. He has seen the beautiful side of the game he loves so much. He has also experienced the bitter side of the football. Life and football are all about opinion. “Four years ago someone gave an opinion about me and that’s their opinion. My story shows the only opinion that matters is the opinion you have about yourself. I was lucky and blessed to find a manager and players who believed in me and so we are here today”.
At 38, he still has a lofty dream of helping Wycombe wanderers in their Championship quest in the coming season. Nothing is impossible when it comes to football. Akinfenwa can even inspire Wycombe Wanderers to book a place in the Premiership!

win

It is not over until you win

Life is like a football match. We win some, we lose some. The beautiful thing about football is that it gives players an amazing opportunity to correct their mistakes. It is a 90 minutes game, where there is provision for extra time.

I have seen teams that started so badly but ended up winning even in extra time. It is a game where a few seconds can determine the outcome of a game. It is rare to see football players giving up on a game. They keep chasing and fighting until the referee blows the final whistle.

I watched a local football match at a school playing ground. As I sat down, I asked one of the boys what the score was. With a smile, he replied; “They are leading us 3-0”

And to be honest, he never looked like someone who was discouraged with the score. I asked him why he didn’t sound discouraged?  “Discouraged?” the boy asked with a puzzled look.

Why should I be discouraged when the referee has not blown the final whistle. I have confidence in the team and our manager; we shall win this game. it was one of the most inspiring words I heard from such a young boy. He should be around 14 or 15 years.

Truly, the match ended 5-4 in favor of the boy’s team. He waved at me gently, with a beautiful smile as he left; I was amazed, mouth wide open; Such confidence; Such awesome positivity. It was a turning point in my view about life.

As I got back home that night, his question kept coming back to me – “Why should I be discouraged when the referee has not blown the final whistle”

Life is like a football game. Why be discouraged, when there is still life. Why should I be discouraged when the final whistle has not sounded?

The truth is that many people blow the final whistle themselves. The desire to win isn’t there. They are defeated, even before the referee blows the whistle for the game to commence.

But as long as there is life, nothing is impossible and it is never too late for you.

Half time is not full time. There are still 45 minutes left, and games have been won in 10 seconds, left of extra time. On the 13th of May 2012, Manchester City made history when they won the Premier League title for the first time in their history.

It was a game where everyone expected them to win against Queens Park Rangers. Pablo Zabaleta gave City an early lead in the first half, and everyone was already in celebration mood at the Etihad. Unfortunately, Djibril Cisse of QPR capitalized on an error by defender Joleon Lescot to equalize for QPR.

Things turned from bad to worse when Jamie Mackie headed QPR into a 2-1 lead with time running out. With the game going into extra time, Manchester United had already defeated Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and was poised to be crowned champions.

It was a nervous time for fans who were watching in shock as the title was slipping away from the grasp of Manchester City. Five minutes of extra time and City had a corner kick quickly taken by David Silva. Edin Dzeko rose highest to head in the equalizer.

Two minutes before the extra time was up, Mario Balotelli stumbled in the QPR penalty area, but still managed to make a pass to Sergio Aguero. The City talisman did the incredible and scored the winner.

It was a lesson I had come to learn. Life gives us opportunities even when all hope seems lost. As individuals,  we must never give up until we win. Don’t blow the final whistle yourself.

The impact of voodoo in modern-day football

The impact of voodoo in modern-day football

Voodoo which can also be described as juju in Africa has been known to exist for ages within the African continent. It can also be described as Black magic and is very popular in the Caribbean. Voodoo is closely linked with evil spirits and other associated demonic agents. Voodoo has gained so much popularity that it is secretly practiced in the middle east, Asia, Europe, and America.

Its history can be traced to the 16th century, with so many variations to its practice in several countries, which has created a lot of variation in its mood of operation. The emphasis, however, has always been the ability to use Black magic to manipulate the outcome of events and create fear in the heart of those who cross paths with its devotees.

Football has always been a game that is globally watched with passion. The urge to win at all costs has always been a motivating factor among players of clubs, especially in countries where football is followed religiously.

Passionate supporters have been seen with animals like goat, pigeons, cock, eagle, black cats, and owl. These are not usually carried to the stadium ground for fun but are used as contact points for wielding magic spell on the opponent. Some teams have been known to patronize Marabout or Black magic priests before games. Some of these marabouts have even followed their team to major tournaments.

There have been reports of killing of goats and the blood is then spilled around the dressing room of opposing teams. This is a way of creating fear, panic, and a spell on the opposition. Whether they work or not is a subject for debate. Giovanni Trapattoni, for example, has been known to have sprinkled ‘holy water’ on the field when he was in charge of the Azzurri’s (Italian National team).

Players have been known to go for specific ritual and spiritual cleansing as a way of fortifying themselves before crucial games. Some have been known to even tie charms around their waist and wear armbands sprinkled black magic. Modern culture has gradually phased out some of these practices, but they still exist in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Countries like Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal, and Togo have been known to display traces of voodoo or Black magic during League matches or even international tournaments. As far back as 1975 for example, Cameroonian goalkeeper with local club side Aigles of Nkongsamba entered the football pitch with a live Eagle during a local league game with local rivals Canon Yaunde. It was a scary moment for the opposition players who protested to the center referee before the Eagle was subsequently removed from the pitch.

Fast forward to 1991, and in a game between Diamond of Yaounde and Caiman Doula, a huge hawk flew into the pitch and perched on the goalpost of Caiman FC. All attempts to drive the hawk away proved abortive. People believed it was the handiwork of Black magic.

The Chipolopolo of Zambia were surprised winners of the 2012 African cup of Nations. They won against a star-studded Ivory Coast side 8-7 on penalties. So many people, however, believed that the secret of their success was tied down to the use of voodoo.

There have been stories of players using black magic on their fellow teammates before major tournaments so they can be picked ahead of their teammates. An incident I would never forget in a hurry was that of one of Nigeria’s most talented goalkeepers at the FIFA U-16 World Championship held in Scotland in 1989.

Andrew AIKHUOMOGBE was so good that he was invited to the Super Eagles team three years later, for the Senegal 1992 African Nations Cup, but he had to leave the Super Eagles camp after his hands got swollen few days before the final selection was to be made. To date, the origin of that freak incident is still fresh and perhaps it was a way to ensure he never got selected for the National team.

Superstition about the use of black magic is so rampant in Africa, that before big derbies involving local club sides, players don’t shake hands for fear of been affected by voodoo or Black magic. In one of the most bizarre sporting moments of 2002, The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon goalkeeper Thomas N’Kono was arrested by riot police for allegedly using “black magic”, before the African Cup of Nations semi-final against Mali, which Cameroon eventually won 3–0 win.

Leicester City were surprise champions of the English Premier League in 2016, but their victory was alleged o have been aided by Buddhist monks who were always around during the team home games. The monks were given free access to the players dressing rooms were they were given special amulets that have been consecrated in Buddhist bowls.

The actual impact of voodoo on football may always elicit controversy and doubt, as long as Zaire who represented Africa in the 1974 FIFA World Cup and got walloped 9-0 by Yugoslavia, 3-0 by Brazil and 2-0 by Scotland without scoring any goal. They took along a Voodoo priest to help boost their chances. 

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