Like I always say football has been the best thing to have happened to man, well after sliced bread. We were celebrating our 10th year anniversary at the office and despite being involved in almost all activities the one that I really looked forward to was the Novelty match and the dinner (yes you can call me chopingo) that put a climax to the week long event. The game was between our Company and our Agents (CBS All Stars versus The Super Agents). Myself and EA were excited about the chance to show ourselves on the pitch though it had been a while I played 11 aside football, as a matter of fact it was in May 2011 in Aberdeen. All the EXCOs were billed to line up for this one and they were going to be mixed with the Junior Staff to make it a youthful line up blended with experience. You know what I mean? Like the Fergie Fledglings era where we had the likes of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, The Neville brothers and Nicky Butt mixed with the experienced lot of Eric Cantona, Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce etc in the early 90s.
Back to the crux of the matter, the rumor of the starting line up had started filtering through atmosphere and yours truly was relegated to being 2nd choice keeper. I was already used to being kicked to the bench when it comes to picking a starting squad like in primary school, secondary school, Uni days (the usual game of set excluded, referring to only competitive games). The team coaches all regretted it *smiles*. It was only during my NYSC days I strolled into the first 11 like a boss and it wasn’t even in my preferred role of a striker, I had to play center back. I accepted my fate and looked forward to the day.
The day before the game we were handed our Adidas kits for the game. I was approached by one of my team mates and he was like he would prefer to be the goal tender rather than play and that we should swap jerseys. I agreed and handed him the goalkeeper’s jersey with me (number 22) and he gave me his kit (number 14). I still wasn’t going to make the starting line up but I knew I will get a shot even if it was for 10 minutes. We had our Thank GOD Its Friday (T.G.I.F) and awards night on this night which was a night of fun for all of us.
Game day and both teams had their final warm ups on either side of the Campos Square Stadium in Lagos Island. The line up for the CBS All Stars had OO in goal, WS, RO, AA and LI in defence, Bash, HB, Gym and Izzy in midfield and EA supporting SB in attack to make up a 4-4-2 formation.Yours truly had to go to the bench but he wasn’t sitting idly, he joined SO and AQ in running commentary. That commentary moment was bliss for me, as a matter of fact I had forgotten I was part of the team.
The first half of the game progressed swiftly with CBS All Stars having more of the ball but created lesser of the chances with Super Agents (SA) being more purposeful of the two sides. SB’s ball control and ball handling skills was top notch and was already in contention for the Man of the Match award. It was 0-0 for about 20 minutes and then Bash happened. Bash fouled a Super Agent in the CBS half and the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation. The resultant spot kick was converted and it was 1-0 in favour of the SAs, Game On. CBS went in search of the equalizer and came close a couple of times but the SAs goalie was having none of it. EA was all over the pitch and at some point people thought he was a mercenary. He took free kicks, corner kicks, throw ins and even goal kicks.
The Agents broke loose on a counter and in the process their player was fouled at the edge of the box by guess who? Did you say Bash? You are so right if you said so. The referee however didn’t blow for a foul as the Agents were still in control of the ball (advantage) and guess what Mr. Bash did? He grabbed the ball with his hands (it was at this moment he knew, he f**ked up) in the box which resulted in another penalty kick. He said he thought the ref blew for a foul. Bash was substituted immediately. The firs half ended 2-0 with the Super Agents going into half time with the lead.
Half time team talk saw CBS introducing 3 new faces including yours truly. It looked like a tactical change but as the game wore on it wasn’t looking like CBS would get a goal. I was playing as a center back initially and after about 20 minutes into the half I went upfront to join SB in attack. Not long after I went upfront did we concede another goal to put Agents 3 nil up. It was looking like an annihilation from then on. Few minutes later SB had the ball at the edge of box and as he ran into the box he was tipped over by an Agent and the ball rolled over to where yours truly and Mr. Macho were positioned. It was a case of fastest feet first and these legs weren’t long for nothing. I outpaced Mr. Macho the strike at goal. BOOM, goal scored by me. 3-1, game on. The MVP (SB) gifted me the assist that led to my goal.
Time was running out though the CBS All Stars pushed forward on several occasions hoping to reduce the goal margin. A counter attacking move led to a free kick 30 yards out for CBS. The resultant free kick was taken by EA and he neatly bent the ball over the wall. GOAAALLLLLL. A curler of a goal, a fantastic goal, well taken free kick. 3-2 and it seemed CBS was going to get at least a draw. It was not meant to be, the ref blew the final whistle about two minutes later. The Super Agents took the day but I must say it was a very good game. As a matter of fact members of the CBS team started raising the motion of playing football games more often.
The turn out was very good spectator wise and kudos to SO and AQ, our version of Jon Champion and Jim Beglin. So yours truly bagged a goal even though it wasn’t as nice as EA’s own but its safe to safe I am a super-sub (smiling sheepishly).
Thanks for your time as always peeps…………………………………………………… BLESS !!!
Dedicated to the loving memory of KOLA AWOLAJA, Rest on Bro.