GOD SENT ENYEAMA
Writing a column when the World Cup is going on comes with its own challenges. Now where do I start? And who do I celebrate? Definitely, I have to write about the Super Eagles. I want to wait for the match against Greece before I start writing, but time is not on my side.
By Thursday, this column should have gone to bed, which is to say, if I want it published on Saturday, then, Thursday is the deadline.
Yesterday, I felt really sorry for the South Africans. Beautiful country. Beautiful World Cup. Beautiful opening ceremony. The Bafana Bafana didn't do too badly at their opening game. A one-one draw against Mexico is not a bad result. But against Uruguay, it was a sad, sad story.
One million trumpets sounded by the South Africans could not bring down the walls of Jericho. Nor the walls of Mexico. Nor Uruguay. The Uruguayans led by their talismanic Diego Forlan showed Bafana Bafana that the World Cup is not for boys. It is for men. It is a game far beyond the inexperience of the home-based boys tutored by the Brazilian master coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. They were given a three-nil drubbing by a real world class Uruguay.
Oh, those South Africans with their vuvuzelas. This morning, I want to blow my vuvuzela louder, but I have no breath in me. I want to blow it for one special Nigerian who made us proud against Argentina. I want to blow it for Vincent Enyeama.
From today on, your name is God-sent, not just Vincent. It was God that sent you to deliver us from the shame of being disgraced by Argentina. They say a tree does not make a forest. But you stood there like a tree that was more than a forest. In my book, you are a hero, the ultimate Nigerian hero. You made a vow that there was no way the fearful Argentina striker Messi was going to score against you. You did your homework on him. You watched 20 different videos of him at play. You analyzed his style, you studied his pattern of scoring and you were prepared for him. That is one lesson everyone should learn.
In everything you do, you must first do your homework. You must study your competition. You must be able to predict what the enemy can do. Nothing should take you by surprise. A man that has prepared is always calm and confident.
Looking at you, you were a picture of calmness, confidence and determination. Four times, Messi struck, and acrobatically you parried away the ball each time, to save your country from the menace of Messi. Thank you Enyeama, Nigerians can never forget you. With this one match, you have become a Nigerian legend. Your name would forever be written in the annals of great goalkeepers, not just in Nigeria, but the whole world.
Such was your greatness that even the enemy came to give you a handshake and acknowledge your greatness. My beloved reader, the enemy would sing your praise. The enemy would proclaim your greatness. Your enemy would confess that you have a God that is beside you, that is protecting you.
At the end of the match, Messi came forward to shake you. He described you as 'phenomenal' and 'exceptional.' God will continue to make you phenomenal and exceptional.
I am happy for you, Vincent. I am happy that all the clubs are now queuing to sign you. Now, all the dues you paid in Israel is bearing fruit. There in your club, you were hailed as the 'best goalkeeper in Israel' and the best that ever landed in Israel. It shall be well with you. God will continue to bless you as He has blessed Israel.
In blessing you, I also bless Papa Adegboye Onigbinde, the coach that launched you to the world in the World Cup of 2002. When Onigbinde picked you to be in the goal for Nigeria, everybody was shocked. But the man was simply looking ahead into the future of Nigerian football. He was preparing you for the future that is now. He saw in you what not many people were seeing. For me, that is vision. That is leadership. I salute Coach Onigbinde, your father in the field.
I cannot forget how you parried the 25-yard thunder strike from the boot of Paul Scholes of England in that scoreless encounter with the lions of England. It was a world-class save. Eight years after, you have proved to be a matured and experienced goalkeeper ranked among the best in the world.
Boy, go out there and rule your world. I would love to see you in the Premiership or in one of those big leagues where your light would shine for the world to see and glorify your Father in heaven. I like your spiritual side. When asked about the secret of your success, you gave credit to God. You said: 'My secret lies with God. Thanks to Him, I was able to do what I did today as He allowed me to stay calm under pressure.'
Good talk. For confessing and blessing God publicly, God will reward and bless you as He would bless me too. Because I am with you in glorifying God in the open, in the pages of a newspaper.
Now, let me use this opportunity to also celebrate Shuaibu Amodu, the man who took Nigeria to the Promised Land but did not get there to lead Nigeria to the World Cup in South Africa. But he was sportsman-like enough to admit when interviewed that the Super Eagles under a new coach has improved tremendously. I like that kind of spirit. Bravo Amodu for your sincerity and objectivity.
And bravo to my friend, Didier Drogba, the icon of African football. Here was a man who is injured, but he would not allow the injury to stand in his way. With his injury, he was still ready to play, to inspire and to die for his country. What else is patriotism? The Elephants of Cote D'Ivoire were simply in a class of their own against Portugal. And Drogba nearly ignited his magic one moment. There is more to come from Drogba.
And bravo to the Black Stars of Ghana for leading the way as usual, for showing the rest of Africa the light. I pray that Nigeria and the rest of the African teams would do well and make the continent proud.
Boy, I have been enjoying myself. I have been indoors, enjoying every minute, every second of the World Cup. I am sure the hosts of heaven are also watching the World Cup. There must be TV sets in heaven. Yes, there must! Whatever is on earth, must be in heaven. Whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven, so says the Bible.
Ah, what would the world be without the World Cup? Beloved, let's continue to bless the name of the Lord as the World Cup progresses, as Nigeria moves into the second round.
And as the Bible says, let's make a joyful noise. With our vuvuzelas let's praise the name of the Lord from South Africa to the ends of the world! Hallelujah!