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SELFISHNESS IS THE BANE OF SOCCER

By: Chris Onyishi

 Published June 22nd, 2010


I have always felt that FIFA has not worked out rules that will make soccer more attractive than it is now. In my opinion, soccer is one of a good example of a team business. And such awards as highest goal scorer being giving to one person will always be a major set back to the team spirit that is highly needed in soccer. The beauty of soccer, I agree, is in the ball hitting the net but balls do not hit the net on their own. Even though one person eventually shoots the ball at the net to score a goal, not less than two mates, usually, contribute to the moves that eventually translate or culminate into a goal.

I agree that that some players are good - or even better - finishers, such as Eto’ O of Cameroun or Yekini of Nigeria, but that’s where team work comes in. Just as some are good fishers, others are good starters or workers. It is only in a few cases of power players, such as Maradona, that you get a player who will be able to, severally within ninety minutes of play, start off from one end and score at the other end. Most often, what obtains is purely a team work. It is either you know how to position yourself to score or you have a good energy to take the ball up to where a fisher takes it off you and finishes well.

The situation is usually that when you work the ball up to eighteen yard box, you must have lost much steam - except if you a power player - that you will not have the composure to finish well. What you do then, as a team player, is to look around for a well positioned mate and lob the ball over to him to finish. A player such as Kanu of Nigeria is good both at finishing and lobbing balls that can be converted. So he has succeeded so much because his mates realize his good intentions as a team worker at all the time.

Samuel Eto’ O of Cameroun does not feed balls that will help his mate score goals and when he is fed with a scoring ball, his selfish celebration, after scoring, usually distorts the team spirit that is much needed in soccer. It was clear that Cameroun was a better side in the 2010 FIFA world cup group stage encounter between them and Denmark played on the 19th June 2010.

But after Eto’o’s first goal and the manner in which he celebrated it selfishly, his entire team mate then started shooting straight into the net even at a disadvantaged position. That was when Cameroun’s problem started. If Eto’ O was not selfish in the celebration of his first goal, his mates would have been encouraged to keep feeding him and Cameroun could have scored more goals in that encounter.

When Danish Bendtner scored in the other hand, we all saw how his celebration went. He first made sure he shook hands with the workers of that goal. He even had to wrap up his team mate, the one who actually fed him with the ball, in such an emotional way just to show him that he appreciates his role in the goal. Nothing can be more complementary than this team gesture. Even though the Danes were playing more individualistic football in the encounter, they were more forth coming in showing themselves that each goal was as a result of team work.

I also realize that selfish players do not feed their mates balls with intention for them to score goals. What they usually happens is that they know how best to position themselves to sneak in goals. But when they start off and discover that they are not in good position to score a goal, they will then look for a mate who is a little far away and shove the ball to him. They will then quickly move forward and create a space for the mate, who has been holding the ball on trust, to send it back for them to score.

These selfish players usually do well in League football because league business in purely profit oriented business and if you are hired to feed finishers with balls to score goals so that a team can win which translate into huge money for club owner, you do not have alternative but to do just that.

My take here is that FIFA should not see international tournaments such as world cup - which should be used to bring harmony and unity amongst nations of the world - in the same vein as business oriented league football. It is in this wise that one would want FIFA, even if means having two sets of rules: one for world tournaments and nations cup and the other for league football, to have an award pattern that recognizes not just one player, but more than one, for any goal that is scored in nations or world cups.

This way, world or nations cups will fulfill its role of bringing peoples of the world together; create more goals which, ultimately, will increase the beauty of the round leather game. To this end it will no longer be, as was described by an American comedian, a game where twenty mad men or women are chasing a round object in a field.

Chris Onyishi

ctekchris@yahoo.com



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