By MIKE AWOYINFA
In football, you are as good as your last goal. From the ashes of a World Cup flop that consumed him, Yakubu Aiyegbeni has risen like a phoenix into soccer glory to be voted as the ‘World Player of the Week.’
Hmm, wonders shall never end. Is this the same Yakubu or another Yakubu we are talking about here? Is it the Yakubu who is the biggest ‘misser’ in the history of the World Cup?
Yes, he is. With two goals he scored against Manchester United last week, which led to the biggest upset in football this side of the Christmas and the New Year, Yakubu Aiyegbeni has turned around his life to become a global celebrity who is in the news.
On Saturday, there was dancing in my house, just as there was all over Nigeria and all over the world as Yakubu netted in that second goal against Manchester United. A goal he scored with the determination and the artistry of Messi. All over the house, there was jubilation and the chanting of his name: Yakubu, Yakubu, Yakubu. It was like when David slaughtered Goliath and women of Israel went to town, dancing and chanting his name to the chagrin of King Saul.
Ah, there is nothing like success. There is nothing like scoring a goal. As you read this piece, my prayer is that, this year you will score as many goals as possible in whatever is your endeavour.
Before our very eyes, Yakubu’s name was everywhere. He was trending on twitter, on facebook and on Blackberry. It was through twitter that I got to know that he had scored the first goal, a penalty kick that he clinically took with the calm and composure of a world-class poacher. Among the twitters, I caught Piers Morgan of the CNN twitting: “Feed the Yak and he would score!”
Before our very eyes, Yakubu has bounced back as Nigeria’s No.1 soccer ambassador right now. Now, who is saying that Yakubu Aiyegbeni cannot wear Nigeria’s jersey again, when he is already being watched with green eyes by the big clubs, when he is being listed as one of the good buys of this season? Now, compare him to Fernando Torres who is still struggling to deliver the goods when Yakubu has already scored 13 goals in the season. And he is still scoring.
The lesson in all this is that, the downfall of a man is not the end. You can always bounce back, if you work hard, if you re-strategize, if you put your act together.
From a World Cup villain, you can become a World Player of the Week, just like Yakubu. The point is: Don’t give up, even when everybody else has given up on you. Keep believing in yourself and what you can do. In the world we live today, success is the best revenge. Scoring is the best answer to silence your critics. Yakubu Aiyegbeni has scored against us all who doubted his ability. Yakubu Aiyebeni has silenced us all.
But there are some Nigerians who would still not forgive Yakubu, no matter how many goals he scores in the EPL. They would hate to see him again in Nigerian shirt. They believe that all these players play their best when with their clubs, but when playing for Nigeria, they turn into something else, into mediocres.
Whatever it is, I believe, we should all forgive Yakubu and give him another chance to play for his country. Don’t let us judge him by his past sins. Let’s judge him by his current form. If he is scoring, then why not?
Let’s bring back the Yak! Let’s stop booing Yakubu. The truth is we don’t have good players anywhere, anymore. We cannot afford to alienate the Yak, for his past sins. We need him now. More than ever. If nobody is re-inviting Yakubu to the Super Eagles, I am saying: “Well done, Yakubu. You can come and take back your green and white shirt.”
Without any doubt, Yak provides us with an attacking option. A potent one for that matter. Ask Man U! Ask Alex Fergusson whose birthday was marred by Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s brace in the Blackburn 3-2 victory against Man U at Old Trafford of all places, the theatre of dreams turned a nightmare.
Yes, David can kill Goliath. David is still killing Goliath! My dear reader, I wish you a Happy New Year and may you score goals against the red devils of your life, just as Yakubu Aiyegbeni has done, proving that in life, anything is possible, once you have the skill and the determination.