So Long, Farewell! (End of a Football Season Reflections)


So long, farewell Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight! As the football season reached its climax across Europe last weekend and all the visuals of champions popping champagne in a show of triumph and splendor after a long tedious season dominated the media, I can’t help but recall the music scene in the 1965 classic drama, Sound of Music, where the children of Captain Georg von Trapp entertained their father’s guests while hosting a grand party in their palatial home in a well-choreographed dance while bidding farewell to the encapsulated audience. A simulacrum of the same scene was evoked as some teams celebrated their league triumphs, junketing in the ecstasy of their achievements while other teams who could not help themselves over the course of the season went down to lower divisions— and some others too where promoted in a twist of fortune.

In the English Premier League, it was Hull City who joined the already confirmed Queens Park Rangers and Burnley in the dreaded route to the less lucrative. The new English champions Chelsea finished up with eight points clear of Manchester City after winning their last game against Sunderland and soon sauntered into a delirium as they marked their first league conquest in five years, signaling a sign of a new dawn in the second coming of the Special One. It was a terrific moment as the team that won the championship in 2004-2005 reunited with the current champions. More remarkable was that players like John Terry, Peter Cech and Didier Drogba were all there when this first happened and were there again to witness the highly nostalgic occasion. Mourinho couldn’t help but express his delight over what he thought was a great moment and quickly added that he would like to have a trio of champions from three generations celebrating with him in 2025—hinting how he would love to create a dynasty in the English premier league with the Chelsea outfit. The newly crowned champions later on Monday painted the town blue while parading their trophy with about 70,000 fans trooping out to see their team show off their deserved trophies.


In Spain, the Catalan giants too emerged victorious after clinching the title last week and drawing their last game against Deportivo de La Coruña. Luis Enrique’s men are having the time of their life as they could still do the treble this season with two more final games for them in the Copa Del Rey and Champions League. It was however a time to say good bye for veteran midfielder Xavier “Xavi” Hernández who tearfully ended his 25 years relationship with Barcelona. The Spaniard would be joining Qatari side Al Sadd.

Archrival Real Madrid gave Barcelona a good push and only finished just two points behind the competition, with Cristiano Ronaldo clinching the Pichichi with 48 league goals and 61 in all competition, his personal best in a season. The heroics of the world’s best soccer player, however, did not impress Fiorentino Perez and the principalities at the Bernabeu as Carlo Ancelotti, the man who helped the Los Blancos grab the much coveted 10th Champions League triumph, graciously known as La Decima and Copa Del Rey last season suffered the same fate his predecessors have had to endure in the palms of Real Madrid’s board room who can’t take the smack of a trophyless season in the chin!


Stephen Gerald had announced his imminent departure to the MLS after a glittering career with the Reds and couldn’t depart in a way he would have wanted as he ended on the wrath of an unforgiving Stoke City side, albeit still with a goal to his name. Although Stephen won everything with Liverpool except the Premier League which literally ‘slipped away’ from his hands when he slipped to give Demba Ba a chance to dent what appeared to be his closest chance to the crown. That would, however, not affect the reputation of this brilliant sportsman who deserves all the accolade he is getting.


Didier Drogba also bid farewell after his successful second spell with the new generation Chelsea. The big Ivorian consolidated his legendary status at the club as he contributed his quota when he was called upon this season to do the job. It was always going to be difficult to match the prowess of his younger years when he tore apart teams in the premiership but his coach—Jose Mourinho—lauded the influence he had on the younger players in the team this term.

Elsewhere, Former teammate Frank Lampard fired home a trademark 10-yarder against Southampton as he also departs for the MLS.


As seasons end like this and heroes depart, it reminds you that whatever has a beginning must surely have an end. Things will never remain the same. Some will move on and some will remain. Some will relegate and some will triumph. No matter the situation we find ourselves, however, we must always look forward to a new season—a new phase in our lives when we can become better. Yesterday’s success or failure is no longer valid—a new dawn will come when we will hopefully rewrite our histories for the better!

O.P. Philips is a freelance writer/entrepreneur. He is the author of The “OBAMA” in You! His new book, “What Football Teaches About Life” will be released soon.

Adebayor and Family: Lessons We Can Learn


I read with uttermost dismay the other week the post Seyi Emmanuel Adebayor (SEA), the lanky Togolese International and Tottenham Hotspur forlorn striker wrote on his Facebook page where he made some blistering comments about the closest members of his own family— with mother and siblings all getting a scathing scorecard in the expository account. For an international figure like Adebayor, a one-time African player of the year and a very successful footballer who has played for the biggest clubs in Europe, one would have expected such family matters to be kept within the family circles and expect any crack to remain at a speculation level on the pages of gossip tabloids, but for him to go on and post the milieu on his Facebook page that has almost a million followers, which by extension filtered to the whole football circles and beyond, is an anomaly of some sort. Even then one could sense that he must have reached the Rubicon, so putting it out there for the whole world to see and judge, never mind the ignominy, seemed like the most commonsensical thing to do.

If you are a Caucasian or yours is a culture that is self-sufficient, you may not appreciate what is going on here. How could one be responsible not just for his wife and children, but for his grown up siblings, father and mother and all the people he said he looks after? Should he do all that just because he makes much more than the average Joes that surround him? Well that should not surprise anyone who’s African. Ours is a culture that is akin to the early man. We live in communities— and we are committed to one another. Once you’re rich, you’ve signed up to look after others even if they are old enough to look after themselves. SEA mentioned that he pays for his brother’s children’s school fees! That’s the Africa that I know. You never walk alone and there’s a colloquial language for that: ‘if you chop alone, you go die alone!’


While the culture of giving back and looking after your family and kinsmen is typically an African thing—or by extension, a human thing, especially when you go home with the kind of pay professional footballers go home with, woe betide you if you’re surrounded by sharks! Now, many Africans in diaspora just like SEA would agree with this. They have a responsibility to save the world, save their family from poverty, and saddled with that responsibility, they set out on this mission—go out there and get the sizzling dollars. When they get to the freezing streets of London and New York, they carry along with them the fate of many dependents back home.

But more often than not, while many get what they hope for coming abroad—the basic amenities of life: electricity, shelter, food and all other infrastructures, they’ll have to “earn” a wage and pay for what they enjoy. By the time they deduct their expenses from what’s left—there’s little or nothing left to send back home. But in spite of this hurdle, many still go out of their way to get something across to loved ones—ask the banks who manage money transfer schemes.


Getting back to SEA—the one goof that I have deduced from his vitriol is that he’s handed too much cash to his family and those folks have taken it for granted. And I also sense that SEA is not managing his wealth properly. If you read through the story, Adebayor revealed that he has a house in Ghana worth $1.2 Million and he was surprised when he visited to know that his sister had rented out the house without his consent. The left side of my brain is thinking: ‘How can you tie up $1.2 million property and it’s not yielding cash for you in the first place?!’ And should that kind of property be in the custody of your family members or a reputable property management company? Adebayor also talked about giving lots of money to his parents and siblings and yet they didn’t use it for what they said they would use it for. Why would they when they have an uber rich football star who can reload them with cash at the snap of the finger?

Many Africans living abroad fall for this goof— they send money home to their friends and family and they expect them to help them build a house (very common) or invest in a business. A good number of them get their hands burned and lose their relationships with such tacky arrangements because more often than not, the cash would be used for everything other than what it was allotted for—it’s a no brainer.

Last December, Super Eagles of Nigeria ex-captain and Nigerian international, Sunday Ogochukwu Oliseh gave a talk on TEDxEuston titled Education Made the Difference and he shed some light on his life as a footballer—his glittering career, managing his wealth and life after retirement. I believe Adebayor and a lot of people could use the staccato of knowledge he dished out in that one. One day, we would all retire whether we are a super star or an average Joe, living in London or Timbuktu. If we don’t manage our wealth well—we’ll be in for the shock of our lives!

Here are some of the points Oliseh stressed in that talk which can be very useful.

  • Plan for Life after retirement: Adebayor and a few African players love to live large—you can’t blame them—they’ve made a lot of money and coming from an indigent background, may be they have the right to wear their worth on their sleeves and over their necks! But that’s beside the point. Oliseh said in that talk that you should plan for life after retirement because your family would still depend on you afterwards. So continue educating yourself and find new ways to add value. For Oliseh, he metamorphosed into a coach, a consultant, Television pundit and a FIFA technocrat.
  • Use your lazy time: Oliseh emphasized that footballers have what he calls ‘Lazy time’—when they are not really doing much. I think we all can find our ‘lazy time’ too. He admonishes that you should plug into something useful rather than fritter away time. Read or watch something that would add value to you. In short, enlarge your capacity.
  • Don’t give money to your family members! This is the one I love! Don’t just throw the cash at your family, set them up in business. Don’t give them fish, teach them how to fish!
  • Save! Save!! Save!!! The former Juventus and Ajax midfielder stressed that you are as rich as what you save, especially when you make a lot of money like footballers do (or maybe when you make less… I add!).

I hope we all learn a thing or two from this and make the right choices!

 O.P. Philips is a freelance writer/entrepreneur. He is the author of The “OBAMA” in You! His new book, “What Football Teaches About Life” will be released soon.