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Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life is when dreams are surrendered to reality.

Monday, July 12, 2010

...of Vuvuzelas and Africa

...and that concludes another edition of the football World Cup. South Africa hosted a wonderful and memorable month of football, not pretty football most times, had its share of controversies, moments of ecstacy coupled with the cruel agony of defeats, beautiful goals and moments of magic...but that is just football, the World Cup is so much more than just football. The sheer drama, the extravagance, the flamboyance that surrounds the people's game brings so much life in these troubled and cynical times. It was nice to see the Africans unite together at least for a month and support the tournament, support each other and for a fleeting moment give rise to hope.

FIFA, despite all its issues, has done so much more to bring humanity together and build a sense of optimism. A sense of optimism to a world that is going thru tumultous times while getting increasingly fractured along racial, religious, and economic lines. I do not think any other sports organization can claim to have done as much or even aspired to. FIFA over the years has started shedding its pro-european bias and have become more inclusive. The emergence of Africa as a footballing power is the result of this inclusiveness.

Now you have thousands of Africans plying their skills in Europe. It is heartening to see the likes of Drogba and Essien not just content to make money and be a part of success stories that were built on individual skills and talent, but also get involved in trying to change the fabric of a land that was pillaged and raped for centuries, the scars of which are still left behind to erupt as communal and ethnic strife that plagues this great continent. The African footballer has become a symbol of hope for the thousands of children who have nothing better to look forward to in life. For a generation that lacks access to basic amenities like water, health services, education...football is a way out. I remember one of Essien's interviews for the Time magazine where he states that when he started playing football Ghana did not have one proper football stadium, but now Ghana is one of the powerhouses of African football...indeed world football. Sadly unlike footballers in any other part of the world, the African footballer besides trying to compete with the best in the world also carries an enormous burden...he is carrying ...hope.

I know, this is just wishful thinking on my part. How can something as trivial as a game of football even aspire to such greatness. But what do we need now more now...the naysayers like Pele or the English media - who prophesied that Africa will not be able to host an event of this magnitude - or a willingness to believe.

South Africa showed the world that, we can do it..all we need is to find out what we want as a part of the global community. Brothers and sisters from the African continent, with their vuvuzelas and enthusiasm managed to keep alive the spirit of carnival, the spirit of togetherness and showed us that if only we shed the cynicism, if only we looked beyond the shallowness of superficial differences, we can forge a world that can with all its difference be a wonderful place indeed.

Thank you South Africa.

Bring on Brazil.

1 Comments:

Blogger thopai said...

Rahul,

Good one. It is much more than wishful thinking. Football will help Africa showcase their capabilities beyond the arena of sports.

Deepak

July 23, 2010 7:40 PM  

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