WHO WILL BE THE FIFA SOCCER WORLD CUP CHAMPIONS ?
As I am writing this blog, the world’s attention is captivated by the dazzling action on display at the FIFA 2022 Soccer World Cup tournament hosted in Qatar. I still have vivid memories of 2010 when South Africa had the honor to host the World Cup tournament. You have to live through this experience to explain it. It is arguable the biggest event on the world calendar for 2022 as 32 nations battle it out over 64 matches for the most coveted title in world sport. An estimated 5 billion viewers will watch the event over a 29-day period through various media channels, as world cup fever hits our shores. The analysis of S&P Global Market Intelligence suggests that the revenue numbers for this world cup will be a record $6,5 billion.
The tournament will also perhaps see for the last time legendary figures like Messi, Ronaldo and Muller grace the occasion and see the focus of attention redirected onto new emerging superstars like Mbappe, Vinicius, Kubo and Saka. The tournament also did not escape controversy as people questioned the host nation’s stance on human rights, treatment of immigrant workers and LGBTQI+ related matters. I don’t think that the dust has completely settled around these controversies.
The tournament already saw its fair share of upsets when pre-tournament favorites such as Argentina, Germany and Belgium were shocked by much lesser ranked countries Saudi Arabia, Japan and Morocco respectively. As I reflected on these shocks (and I am sure that there will be more as the tournament progresses) and its relevance for my life journey, I was reminded of the words of the wise King Solomon as recorded in Ecclesiastes 9:11 “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned….”
One of the most intriguing phenomena in life, is that one cannot with absolute certainty predict how someone will finish the race from how he/ she began. Certain people have been born with the proverbial golden spoon in their mouths, yet their lives turn out to be a monumental failure notwithstanding all the advantages. Conversely others might come from an environment of abject deprivation and lack, yet their lives turn out to be a legendary success. Does this sound familiar?
PERSISTENCE – THE GAME CHANGER
Persistence is that rare quality that allows someone to continue doing something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people. It speaks of a spirit of determination; it’s the ability to persevere under difficult circumstances and not giving up that easily. Temporary setbacks are not fatal, it only expands your reservoir of learning experiences. Informed by those experiences, you will be much better equipped given a similar set of circumstances.
Billions of people around the world are today enjoying the convenience of the electric light bulb. It was born out of unrelenting persistence of Thomas Edison, who after more than a thousand attempts, took the failures as learning opportunities until he produced the perfect light bulb in 1878. Ralph Waldo Emmerson once said ‘’That which we persist in doing becomes easy to do; not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do it has increased.“ Strength comes from struggle, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, financial etc. If we are not regularly subjected to challenges, like a muscle that’s not frequently exercised, our capacity will progressively waste away.
BECOMING A HIGH IMPACT PLAYER
The team that is going to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup needs to have high impact players. Likewise, in the game called life, we also need to have impact to win the ultimate prize. The following are some of the characteristics of high impact players:
1. Quitting is not an option to them.
When a player is selected to represent his country, he must put life and limb on the line. You come to the realization that you are representing the hopes and aspirations of millions of your fellow countrymen, and you dare not fail them.
Are you willing to put yourself on the line if need be? Are you ready for the possible criticisms, rejection, sweat, toil and tears to do things others are not prepared to do? Ask me, there is nothing more exhilarating then to know that you mustered up the courage, stepped out of your comfort zone, conquered your deepest fears in representing a cause much bigger than yourself.
2. Commitment to the game plan
Impact players stick to the instructions and game plan of the coach. The coach has a much more objective view of the game and can make the necessary strategic shifts timeously to foil the opposition’s advances. The players have absolute trust and confidence in the coach’s judgement and follow his instructions to the letter. Who coaches you in executing the game plan of your life?
3. The power of proclamation
If you say you are a loser, you have already lost before the game even started. Our words have creative power; be careful what you speak over yourself and your circumstances. People of impact establish in their hearts that they can be victorious and then speak it continuously over themselves and act accordingly. Discovering your destiny is not an academic exercise but a matter of real life engagement.
Impact players are prepared to forego temporary pleasures for life-long success. They approach life from a generational perspective; making an impact worth emulating for generations to come. You therefore need to be absolutely clear what you are standing for and what you represent. Being selected for the team, is an awesome responsibility because the pride and prestige of the nation is at stake. You are pursuing an ideal much bigger than yourself. Football is a team sport and not an ego trip in search of misplaced individual glory. In the words of the iconic England football captain Tony Adams “Play for the name in front of the shirt, and they will remember the name on the back.”
Winning is a choice and so is losing. As the saying goes – it’s not over until the fat lady sings. Don’t give up on your dreams, give it all you got and play until the final whistle blows. The choice of giving up or going on, is the defining moment in your life. The jury is still out as to which team will be crowned as the 2022 Soccer World Cup champions. At this stage of the tournament, it is difficult to tell with so much brilliant talent on display. I must however admit that the Samba Boys look to me undoubtedly like the real deal…. and what’s your favorite team?