....Inspired beyond boundaries

Tag: Manchester United


Failure is part of the success story

Failure is the opposite of success. It is the inability to achieve a certain goal or objective in life. The painful thing about failure is that it tends to weigh down the individual, especially those who had a realistic expectation about the possibility of achieving greatness.

On 1st February 2016, Manchester City signed Pep Guardiola to a 3 years contract. It was the biggest signing of the club’s entire history, as Pep Guardiola is regarded as the best tactician in the round leather game.

The expectation from fans was high. The possibility of winning laurels became increasingly possible, as the new man in charge was known to have won loads of trophies while with Bayern Munchen of Germany and Barcelona of Spain.

Unfortunately, things never went the way of Manchester City, as they failed to win a single trophy in Pep’s first reign in charge as manager. The team came 3rd in the Premier League. They were knocked out in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup, by Arsenal 2-1 after extra time.

They could not defend the EFL trophy they won in the 2015/16 football season, as they were knocked out in the 4th round by Manchester United 1-0. It was a very sad moment in the club history as all their expectations were being met with failure.

The UEFA Champions League provided a ray of hope for supporters of Manchester City, as Pep Guardiola had previously won it with Barcelona. They however exited the tournament in the round of 16, as they got knocked out of the competition by the French team Monaco.

Pep’s first season was seen as a failure and the pain was obvious. It was disappointing, as the club went through the entire 2016/17 season with a taste of any trophy. That never slowed down the hunger for success among the players and the new manager.

The 2017/18 season saw the real hunger for success in Manchester City. Failure in the previous season had seen a huge appetite for success in the team. The burning desire is always there, each time we fail in life.

Manchester City emerged Champions of the English Premier League with an unprecedented 100 points from 38 matches. An amazing tally of 106 goals made it even sweeter. They won the EFL Cup, beating Arsenal 3-0 at Wembley.

The 2018/19 season was even better, as Manchester City won all three domestic trophies they entered for, including the community shield. They became the first team to ever hold all four of England’s primary football trophies.

Failure had indeed made the team stronger. It was a beautiful example of how we can learn more from failure than we can ever do from success. We can become inspired to do more when we fail in certain aspects of life.

It all starts from the inside. Never get so discouraged when things don’t go your way. Its all part of the success story. Good things sometimes take time. They don’t always come on the platter of Gold.


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.

Odion Ighalo

Odion Ighalo: Set to be the Highest paid African Footballer in History

Odion Ighalo is in the news today for the right reasons. His steady rise to stardom can only be likened to a fairy tale. He has always believed in the saying: “Favor over labor”. Popularly called the favored man, the 30-year-old former Julius Berger FC of Nigeria striker have seen his stock rise in the international market in the last few months.

News coming in say the Lagos born striker is set to become the highest-paid African footballer in history. Presently on a 6 months loan from his Chinese Super League club- Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, his plan loan extension by Manchester United has apparently been rejected.

He is been offered a whooping £400,000 per week contract by his Chinese club. This is coming on the heels of his amazing performance for Manchester United before the break caused by coronavirus pandemic. He made a total of 8  appearances and scored  4 goals.

He currently earns £130,000 at Manchester United and would no doubt be the cynosure of all eyes when he goes back to his parent club when the Chinese Super League restarts. An amazing player who has blossomed in the twilight of his career. Odion Ighalo shared his sentiment while joining Manchester United on the 1st of February this year: “I never thought this was going to happen but dreams do come through”.

Indeed, the man who was the highest goal scorer at the last African Nations Cup (AFCON) 2019 held in Egypt with 5 goals, has always believed in his dreams. He has had a stint with Lyn Oslo of Norway, Udinese of Italy and Granada of Spain. In the 2014/2015 football season Watford FC then plying their trade in the English Championship signed Odion Ighalo and he led them in their Promotion to the English Premier League. It was at Watford he flourished and carved a name for himself as he emerged the clubs one of the highest goal scorers for the club. He made 82 appearances and scored an amazing 33 goals.

His performance attracted a whole lot of interest in the transfer market and Chinese Super League club- Changchun Yatai coughed out a massive £20 million for the striker in 2017. He spent a season and then moved over to Shangai Greenland Shenhua, from where he made a loan move to Manchester United in February this year after the injury to Manchester United’s main striker Marcus Rashford.

Odion Ighalo called it quit with international footballer last year, soon after the AFCON. He exited the tournament as the highest goal scorer, not without an injury though, as he got injured in Nigeria’s 2-1 loss to eventual tournament winners Algeria. If figures been peddled is true Odion Ighalo will surpass the likes of Samuel Eto Fils, Didier Drogba, John Obi Mikel, Yaya Toure, Emmanuel Seyi Adebayor, Mohammed Salah, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Sadio Mane as the highest-paid African footballer of all time.

These are indeed good times for the man who was never given any chance of returning to the English Premier League. He has had some amazing dreams come through. In the coming days, he may continue his fairy tale rise to stardom.

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