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hope

Hope keeps the heart alive

On November 4, 2008, Senator Barack Obama defeated John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States of America. By that victory, he also became the first African elected to the White House.

Before the election, the young senator wrote the best selling book titled: “The audacity of Hope”. It was an intriguing book that showcased the American dream and the possibility of achieving these lofty dreams.

That same sentiment has always kept some individuals strong, even in the face of daunting challenges. A few days ago, I shared my sentiment concerning the tenacity of Arsenal FC fans.

I tweeted: “Sometimes you got to praise the courage and resilience of Arsenal fans. Season after season, that constant heartbreaking experience never weigh them down. I draw inspiration from them and this week I’ll be writing an article dedicated to all Arsenal fans. You deserve all the Love”

Funny enough, the football season started on a very beautiful note for the London side, as they clinched both the FA Cup and the Community shield. An ecstatic Mikel Arteta was over the moon as he savored two trophies in his new managerial career at Arsenal.

The mood among Arsenal fans was even made merrier with the litany of signings in the summer transfer window. In came the likes of Thomas Partey, Gabriel Magalhaes, Willian, Runar Alex Runarsson, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares, and Dani Ceballos.

The hope of a good run in the new season was high. Defense, midfield, and attack had been fortified. Unai Emery had been shown the exit door and Mikel Arteta was given a warm reception.

Everything was put in motion to ensure Arsenal brings back the glory years, and the FA Cup and Community shield triumph was an appetizer to the ever-loyal Arsenal faithful.

Fast forward to week 12 of the 2020/2021 English Premier League season, and Arsenal are rooted in the 15th position in the EPL Log after an embarrassing 1-0 loss at home to Burnley. It was not the first time they were losing at home this season.

Sundays’ loss to Burnley was Arsenal’s 4th consecutive home defeat at home this season. The initial hope that came with Mikel Arteta’s coming and the new signings have fizzled out. The alarm bell has started ringing, as rumors have started going around about the possibility of looking for a new manager.

It has indeed been a turbulent time for Arsenal supporters, as they have endured years of pain. The pain of going from season to season without a major trophy can be so devastating, but the ever-resilient gunner fans have always stood behind the club and players.

The audacity of hope can be seen in the play, as they keep dreaming about some positive moment. Unfortunately, someone jokingly tweeted about Arsenal’s trophyless run after Diego Maradona died recently. “Did you know that Diego Maradona died without seeing arsenal winning the champions league, he lived for 60 years

It was a rather embarrassing fact, that highlight the long wait for Joy among the Arsenal fans. Indeed, things have not gone according to plan this season, and confidence is at an all-time low among players.

Mesut Ozil

There have been fingers pointing at the ill-treatment meted out to Mesut Özil as been responsible for Arsenals dismal display so far. Indeed, the creative midfielder has been frozen from Arsenals first team since March 2020.

He remains Arsenal’s most creative midfielder and there is already a clamor for his recall to the team. The possibility of Mesut linking up with the squad in January is high, even as pressure keeps mounting on Mikel Arteta.

Lack of goals

Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Eddie Nketiah have been used as Arsenal’s main striking options this season, but their goal return has been dismal. Aubameyang has played 12 premier league matches this season and has scored just 2 goals.

Alexandre Lacazette has played 8 matches and made 2 substitute appearances this season with 3 goals to show. Eddie Nketiah has started 1 premier league match and made 9 substitute appearances and has just 1 goal to his name. Unfortunately, goals can only come when chances are created. Sadly, creativity is absent in the middle of the pack.

The manager

Questions have been raised about the ability of Arteta to steer Arsenal from the murky water of despondency into a top 4 team that they are used to. As an assistant to Pep Guardiola, he was never faced with these sorts of challenges.

Experience at the top level may be lacking. How to rightly utilize players at his disposal is another challenge. How he handles the Mesut Ozil situation will further show his capacity as a manager. Technically, he still has few things to learn in the game, but helping Arsenal to a respectful finish seems to be the agenda for now.

The agony of hope

Watching Mikel Arteta’s post-match interview after the Burnley defeat was heart-rendering. He was pensive and almost in tears. I could imagine the pain and turmoil inside of him. He didn’t look too hopeful, just like millions of Arsenal fans who have already resigned themselves to whatever comes their way.

Arsenal’s next four games will be crucial

The next four games for Arsenal have assumed a more significant dimension considering the situation of the club. They play Southampton at home, Everton away and Manchester City in the EFL Cup Quarterfinal. They then welcome Chelsea at home on boxing day in a must-win game. If they drop points in three EPL games, they may be swimming in the murky waters of relegation.

The audacity of hope may eventually give way to the pain of resignation. It’s a lonely world out there and even in this festive season, let’s keep sending love and light to all Arsenal fans. They are the real heroes in this unique chapter of the club’s unenviable transition.

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.

Life

Life is a beautiful journey

Life sometimes gives us some beautiful memories and some not too pleasant memories. Like a journey, life is full of a few bumps and stops. These stops sometimes may seem difficult to bear, especially if they come so suddenly.

Some few days ago, I saw twitter a post that touched me so deeply. It was from a Manchester City fan called Andy. It wasn’t one of the most beautiful messages one would have loved to go through with a smile.

Andy had been going through some difficult health challenges and he had already been placed on some chemotherapy sessions. Unfortunately, things weren’t going according to plans. His condition wasn’t improving as he had expected.

Lots of you have asked how l am, which I’m grateful, so I feel I should give an update about my health the doctors have said my body cannot take anymore chemo it’s not strong enough so it’s time for nature to take its cause they reckon I have about 6 months, so I will enjoy it”

It took me quite a while to send him a message of encouragement. It was a tough task trying to encourage someone who had a few months to live. Not the most pleasant task I must confess, but Andy’s positive disposition made all the difference.

Iranian Conjoined twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani had always dreamed about living separate lives even when they were born as conjoined twins. They wanted freedom. They wanted to explore the beautiful things life had in store.

In 2003, they both agreed to have unprecedented surgery to separate their heads. They were 29, and the risk at that age was massive. It was a 50-50 chance of survival, but they were ready to take the risk.

A day before the surgery, Ladan said: “We’ve never been as confident as we are now. We are prepared by all means to embrace the risk and walk into the operation room”. Unfortunately, they never made it out of the Raffles Hospital in Singapore. The bleeding from the 12 hours surgery couldn’t be stopped.

Ladan died first, while Laleh died 53 hours after the procedure began. It was a sad moment for the entire nation of Iran. There was hope, that the operation would be successful. They wanted to experience the beauty of life as separate individuals, but they could barely enjoy it for fewer 48 hours.

The journey was brief, uneventful, and in the end, though they were separated. They never lived to enjoy the joy of separation. When I first read the story of Ladan and Laleh Bijani, I felt so heartbroken and it took me a while to get myself together.

Life may seem unfair to some, but when we look deeply at the privilege and beauty life brings into our heart, it makes the journey worthwhile. Some may argue about the pain of seeing their loved one die prematurely. I’ve had the painful experience of losing brothers, sisters, uncles, my Dad, and my mum.

These events may shake up the faint-hearted, but yet we must realize there the need to appreciate each moment life brings our way. Don’t let the difficulties you face defeat you. Don’t let life break your spirit.

We live each day with absolute hope that tomorrow will be better than today. We don’t wait for our future but create a beautiful future filled with all we ever desired from life. Each new day brings renewed hope and renewed strength.

Our paths in life may not be the easiest. The journey may not be the smoothest. But we must keep praying for the courage to move on and never look back in regret.

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.

passion

Passion is key to success in Life

Passion defined

Passion is a strong emotion or enthusiasm for something. Passion is stronger than love and can sometimes be so overwhelming. It is what keeps you going when all things around you seem to be falling apart.

At a concert held in 2008, a young professional singer came on stage and sang a popular song to the admiration of everyone. The entire audience stood up and clapped after her rendition. She had an amazing voice and her rendition was wow!

As she walked off the podium, an old man walked up to the stage and asked the concert organizers for a special favor. He wanted to sing a song. There was a brief hesitation, and finally, he was allowed to sing.

The old man climbed the podium and sang the same song the lady sang. There was pin-drop silence in the 5,000 capacity concert hall. The song resonated with the packed audience. In the end, there were tears in the eyes of everyone in the hall.

The difference between both performances was passion. The lady came to deliver professional performance. She was paid to sing. The old man sang from the heart. He had a deep desire, that transcended beyond just money. Music was a way of life for him.

Passion kept him going when things were tough

Vincent Kompany was an extraordinary footballer. The former captain of Manchester City and the red devils of Belgium had some beautiful moments. He also had some bad moments in his career, as he battled constantly with injuries.

Kompany’s amazing career at City was disrupted by more than 30 injury setbacks. Calf, Shin damage, muscle, groin, hamstring, and abductors injuries were always plaguing the big center-back. He never gave in to these injury setbacks, but always worked his way back to the team after each setback.

The desire for the game made him stronger each time he fell to injury setback. His raw passion to see City succeed made him endure pain in matches where he wasn’t expected to feature. He played through the pain barrier.

In his last season at City, Kompany scored an amazing goal against Leicester. It was a crucial goal that helped City win the EPL title and inked his name in City’s history books. His passion when he scored that long-range effort was lovely to behold. It was almost overwhelming seeing the happiness in his face as he ran the entire field to celebrate with City fans.

When others had given up hope on the big Belgian, he held on tenaciously to the game he loved. It was an excited and passionate Vincent Kompany that lifted the EPL trophy on the 12th of May 2019 after trumping Brighton 4-1 at the Amex Stadium to clinch the title for the fourth time.

The journey is not always smooth, but passion will always lift your heart

In the journey of life, there would be moments of pain and heartache. There would be betrayals from those you love when they don’t support your dreams in life. The temptation to abandon that which you love may appear so strong, but passion will always lift your spirit.

When you are passionate about what you do, nothing else matters. Discouragement from those who you hold so dear cant stop you. Negative comments from haters can’t stop an individual who is passionate about succeeding in life. You alone, hold the key.

The journey may be rough. The road may appear bumpy. The beautiful moments may not be visible, but when you are passionate about what you’re doing, that’s all that matters.

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