ROBERTO DI MATTEO…..

                                                                            

I wanted Chelsea to lose! You know how the story ended, don’t you? Thing is, I used to be a blues fan. I loved the two dreaded wonders who with Van Basten helped Netherlands win the 1988 European cup. When Ruud Gullit went over to Chelsea from AC Milan to become a player coach, I naturally followed him and became a diehard fan of the blues. All through the Italian revolution that had Gianluca Vialli, Pierlughi Casiraghi, Roberto Di Matteo and Gianfranco Zola play for the club, to when it became a veritable melting pot of nationalities with the Spaniards Ferrer and Sergi as full backs, the Norwegian, Tore Andre Flo, the Uruguayan, Gustavo Poyet, the Dutchmen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and the goalkeeper, what’s his name now….ah ha.. Ed De Goey and until Claudio Ranieri took over with Mario Melchiot (subjectively, he is one of the best right backs in the world, who did not fully fulfill his potential) running down the right flank. Then the Special one took over, I respected his confidence and absolutely abhorred his pride, same reason I can’t abide CR7 but absolutely in love with Lionel Messi because of his humility. I turned my back on Chelsea!

The last Champions league finals will go into the annals of football history as one of the best ever. It had enough heart stopping drama to make it a Hollywood production but it was said that Michel Platini tried his best to make ensure it was a Barca, Real Madrid finals and failed. To me even a classico could not have ended better than the match we saw, nail biting tension and all. The rapid succession of classico games played recently has made them a bit monotonous for me; personally I don’t think it would have made a great final. Thing is that lots of the time in life we try to work things out with our own wisdom and strength like  Mr. Platini but if you are a Christian, wisdom should tell you that God has better things in store for us, so it does not pay to try and scheme our way through life. We should play by the rules and quietly trust God. For example if as a lady, you have changed everything about yourself just to make a guy slip a band on your finger, you are probably trying too hard, it is not supposed to be that difficult. The dude is not your knight in shining armour my sister, please walk. There is a better guy in store for you. Cheating to make a quick buck is also not worth it and the list goes on. Absalom, the son of David used every kind of manipulation and machination to dethrone his dad in his bid to become king and died in the process. Since his dad loved him so much, he would most probably have become king if patience had been a virtue of his. Machiavelli was wrong; the end never justifies the means if the means is wrong.

One thing that astonished me was the way Chelsea and its fans believed even when the deck was obviously stacked against them. They dug into the trenches and fought the fight of their lives. In life, it’s not over until it’s over. It does not matter the disadvantage you have or the hand life might have given you, NEVER QUIT, NEVER BACK DOWN, SIMPLY BELIEVE, HAVE FAITH!!! FAITH MOVES MOUNTAINS!!!

My buddy bro Emeka told me that even though the odds were against Chelsea that they had something, someone who will make all the difference, that is Didier Drogba (humble fellow he is I must say), and I laughed him to scorn. My laughter came back to haunt him and not as Casper the friendly ghost. The Ivorian turned out to be the ace that changed the game. In the game of life we all need aces even God after using all the plagues in the world had to resort to the blood covenant to break the hold of Pharaoh and Egypt over the Israelites. WHAT IS YOUR ACE??

How powerful can cards be in the game of life? After seeing The Gambit of the X-men fame using explosive cards to do away with enemies, you would agree with me that cards can be dangerous in doing a foe in, wild-cards. Against Bayern Munich, Ryan Bertrand was a wild card, an unforeseeable and an unpredictable element that helped to clip Arjen Robben’s wings. God’s a master of wild-cards. Moses was reared in Pharaohs household, Jesus was born by a virgin, veterans of war could not kill Goliath with the best of war armaments and here comes “lil” David and brings the man mountain down with a sling and a stone, ridiculous. If these are not wild-cards then I don’t know what is?

Study life! Czech studied the penalties of the Germans and came away unbowed. We all need to be students of life; this is one of the sure ways to avoid being victims. Samson was betrayed once by a Philistine filly and did not learn his lesson; he later fell for a Philistine vixen and lost his life. Understanding life helps us know the direction to face when things get kicking. It saves you from projectiles that could topple your aspirations.

Believe and invest in a dream! Roman Abramovich did not let up on his dream and invested billions into it. He came away with the grand prize!

I have been plunged into darkness before. Black and stygian, boiling and living, its maws filled with poisonous fangs, breath full of peppery mist and bowels filled with pain that stung like a sting ray until every cell of my being was marinated in excruciating agony. But even though the pain has almost being buried in the sands of time, I still remember the sweetness of the embrace I got from pals who tried to ease the pain (Dego, Nonso, Dozie, Pst Toyin, a million thanks). One of the things about that game I would never forget was when Didier gave a broken, confused Robben a hug. There is nothing like the hug of empathy, an embrace of comfort. Seriously, I have never been able to understand people who leave a wake of pain and hurts wherever they go. The bridge of relationships is one of the strongest things ever, makes that of San Francisco seem like a makeshift tangle of raffia and bamboo sticks. Let us always endeavour to reach out a helping hand, a loving hand, a hand of camaraderie.

Then of course, the Hero of the whole saga, Roberto Di Matteo! This brother makes a cucumber seem hot and sweaty. He is the James bond of the round leather world. I can almost wager that he introduces himself by saying my name is Di Matteo, Roberto Di Matteo.  He is suave, debonair and urbane, can keep his shirt on intact after a battle with a wounded lion. Dandy and cool, he led Chelsea to an unbelievable victory. I told someone recently that one of the worst tragedies in life is committing suicide; it’s an extremely stupid act, absolutely foolish. This is because the winds of fortune can blow in your direction at any minute, the fact that you seem down on your luck today doesn’t mean that your situation has been cast in stone. Ask Roberto, outcast eighteen months ago, hero today. Even when the cup was won, he did not exhibit the kind of euphoria that would make one think he never expected it. His stone cold nerves of steel showed that he knew he had it in him, so it was going to be sooner than later. The thing in life is to keep investing and practicing so that when the platform of fortune shows up, we would be ready to perform on the grand stage.

Loads of people have concluded that the Chelsea victory was as a result of serendipity but I beg to disagree. Fortune favours the brave. That victory came by sheer grits, tenacious guts, meticulous preparation, strategic planning and good management powered by an exceptional Italian. Roberto Di Matteo, I DOFF MY HAT!!!

This whole tale of fortitude and unbelievable triumph sparked off the timeless verse Paul told the Galatians in my heart and it’s been burning like the fires in Vulcan’s forge.


“BE YE NOT WEARY IN WELL DOING, FOR IN DUE SEASON, YOU SHALL REAP IF YOU FAINT NOT.”

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