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** Present **
“Oh my!” Seyi shouted teasing Trisha as she got off the camera. They had walked in while she was talking. “Go boy.” Hikmar said pushing Seyi to the camera.
** Seyi **
“The only Nigerian in the whole of Auckland. Popular, famous, trust your naija boys na. Chicks’ man, best footballer ever.” I ranted to the camera.
“Okay what happened on my first day? I met with the new people on the team. I was the captain.”
“Hello it’s your first day on the Auckland FC team, so I’ll be brief. Hard work, persistence, dedication, discipline, determination, focus, creativity, passion are what makes you a good footballer.” I started walking around them.
“To be an exceptional footballer, you need to be able to think faster than your opponents.” I stopped in front of the best of them based on his performance in the auditions.
“All these cannot compare with the power of teamwork.” I stated moving from his front.
“To have an exceptional team, teamwork and team spirit is very essential. We must learn to think like each other but faster than your team mate with the ball so as to create chances.”
“Sorry.” The head coach uttered walking onto the pitch. “Come over.” He said beckoning to me. “The NCSC is coming to Auckland, we’ve got lots of work now. I want you to call for a team meeting later today.” He said dismissing me.
“I’ll take over.” I walked towards the dressing room with the thoughts of the last competition on my mind.
We had played badly even with all our players available. We still couldn’t get past the group stage.
Things were different now. We had grown from our slumber. This was the biggest stage for any college football team.
“Hey Hiky, we‘re going to be meeting by 2 pm today.” I said to Hikmar.
** Hikmar **
I was busy gaming on my IPhone 5 when Seyi came in. “What did you say?” I said feigning ‘I didn’t get that’ “There’s a meeting at the sports complex by 2 pm.” He said walking away.
“Okay.” I shouted trying to get on his nerves. “Hey Vivian.” I greeted as she walked towards me. She held her hand out. “How are you?” She asked as I put my hand on hers.
“You heard yet?” She asked. “NCSC?” I chipped in. “Yep the NCSC in Auckland.” She said sitting next to me.
“That’s already all over the place. “ I stated. “You guys had better start working from now on.” She suggested picking her books.
“What are you doing?” I asked trying to get something to make fun of her with. “Nothing for now.” She replied moving away with a smile on her face.
“Better start working from now on. That sounds familiar, that’s because you said it.” I shouted as she walked away.
** Present **
“Typical Hikmar actions.” Seyi teased as he cut Hikmar. “Forget that thing.” Hikmar said pushing his way through
** Seyi **
I walked into the sports complex with my mind preoccupied with thoughts of the last NCSC. The matches we played, those who we had underestimated.
The fear of repeating such blunders gripped me as I set my foot on the ground right in front of the dressing room.
“Walk on dude.” Hikmar said from behind me. I moved away from the walk way as I continued my soliloquy.
James was the then captain. I was a less experienced but more skilful player than James.
“Where are you? Seyi!” Mr Woodgate who was our coach at the time shouted. I decided not to respond as I went down memory lane.
“Hey! James how are you?” I called out to James who was standing in front of the grocery store.
“Hey! I’m cool how about you.” He replied waiting up for me. “I’m good. I heard that the NCSC is coming up and football is one of the competitions.” I said placing my palm on his. His hand was stretched out for a handshake.
“Yeah, we’ve got a good history with the competition, this should be no different.” He stated with so much confidence in his voice.
“See you around in school tomorrow. Stay fit.” He said as he walked over to the cab he had stopped.
The next day was to be the first day of our practise for the NCSC. I walked into the sports complex expecting so much. I was to be disappointed. I waited all through the day hoping that one person on the team will show up. Not even the coach came. This occurrence continued up until the first day of the NCSC football competition.
“Today we go out to continue the tradition we have laid down. Young lad, you will not be starting this match. Let the big boys do the job.” James said facing me and patting me on my back. The captains where allowed to have a say in the first team selection and were responsible for the pre match team talk. “Yeah, no problem.” I replied downcast for a reason I couldn’t explain.
“Seyi!” coach called. I jumped out of my soliloquy. “What’s wrong with you my boy?” he stated. “I’m scared. Really scared. I don’t want to be like James.” I whispered. “That’s nothing to fear. All you need to do is to note the mistakes James made, and avoid them. Moreover you’re not james.” He said patting my back. “Come on in your boys await you.”
“I’m coming over.” I looked up the boys looked ready and willing to give it their all. I walked into the dressing room with so much of motivational speech in my heart.
“Give it up for your captain.” Hikmar screamed as the whole room burst into an all-out standing ovation as I walked in.
“We might have been beaten but not defeated. We might have lost but not failed, we might have been humiliated but we still are a force to reckon with in the NCSC football category. To this effect, I want to know those who are with me to bring this glory back to Auckland?” I said.
Hands went flying in the air. “If you are, then we’ll give it all it takes, take every friendly and training like it’s the competition. Monday, we start training see you all then.” I said bringing the meeting to a close.
“Nice speech.” Coach said as he came to my side.