Friday, December 23, 2022
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" The destiny of one's life is entirely of God's." Cyril C. Nwokeji

"God gives success, we can only make an effort as humans." Cyril C. Nwokeji

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years" Abraham Lincoln

he death of Pele, some days ago didn't come completely as a surprise, to those who followed the news of his health condition, in the last days of his life. Nature as it were, gave Pele and his family ample notice to make the necessary preparations for his passing. And they took maximal advantage of it. May his soul find rest in the Lord's bossom! Amen !

One controversy that lingered right up to the passing of two of the best soccer players ever : Pele and Maradona, was, who was the greater/ greatest player?

Some soccer school of thought , thought it was Pele; others , though in the minority, gave it to Maradona. From the title of this piece, one sees which side of the aisle yours sincerely belongs.

My thinking is informed by the general assessment of both players : their individual talents , their contributions and their achievements with the teams they played for , their contributions to soccer development generally and their persona.

With regards talent, in my considered opinion, Pele was not more talented than Maradona. But when the other factors are taken into consideration, Pele gets the nod in my considered opinion.

Pele was highly talented, one of the most highly talented players ever to have kicked the round leather ball.

Pele was a highly disciplined soccer player. According to my Brazillian neighbour and friend, he was always the first to come to training and the last player to leave the training pitch. He achieved an immesurable lot with his club, Santos FC of Brazil! He is actually till date, the only soccer player ever to have won the FIFA socer world cup three times!!!! A record that considering the evolution of soccer nowadays , would be difficult to equal, talkless of surpassing!

Pele helped develop/ popularise soccer in North America, in the seventies, when he signed and played for the New York Cosmos.

Off the field, he was a gentle man per excellence. An affable/ lovable personality, who lived an exemplary life that gave and still gives credit to the game of soccer and it's principal actors, the soccer players!

Soccer players were hitherto seen as charlatans, never- do- wells or drop-outs, who betrode the pitch to give expression to their hitherto uncanalized, recalcitrant/ anti-social /unwanted behavioural tendencies!

Pele's persona, helped rejig/ re-shape this hitherto uneviable / unwanted image of soccer players.

He was by far the best public relations product of the round leather game thus far. And may be will ever be!

As a young boy of thirteen, one remembers his trip/playing tour with a Brazilian clubside to Nigeria in 1978. They played two matches in Nigeria, in Lagos and in Kaduna.

In the Lagos match played in a full capacity National stadium Suru-Lere, they played against an "NFA selected side", that comprised some of the then best Nigeria players. One notable member of that squad that one still remembers is : Sunny Oyarekua- then police officer soccer star. He was conspicuos in the match, by hitting the cross bar of the Brazillian team with a volley, that would have been credited as a world goal, if it had gone in!

In that match, Pele, played forty-five minutes each with both sides.

In the second match played at the Ahmadu Bello stadium, Kaduna, Pele's Brazillian team, played against a Kaduna selected team. One remembers Felix Owolabi, then a member of the Super Eagles, playing for the home team. One remembers he had the 'unenviable' task of marking-out Pele, when Pele played against his team!

Like in the Lagos match, the stadium was filled to capacity, and Pele played one half each for both sides.

Following Life's dictates, Pele has gone the way of all mortals : he has died! But he left indelible footprints in the sands of time! He will forever be remembered as one of the greatest nay greatest soccer player ever!

Once again, may his soul find rest in the Lord's bossom! Amen !!!!!!!


and "Super Eagles of Nigeria in the New Era", also presently on sale on www. Amazon.com


Also at the link below, one can come into contact with a number of items, needed to support the Super Eagles at "Cameroun 2021" !!!!!


The book "Super Eagles of Nigeria : Pride of Africa", can also be gotten through the author. One can contact the author through : [email protected] Please note in this case, payment of postage costs will be necessary