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Life lessons learned from the World Cup

The 2018 football bonanza had football fans around the world on the edge of their seats. However, there was more than just passively watching the game, writes Wairimu Nyingi

1. Dreams are valid

At age six, Luka Modric was a refugee. During the Balkan Wars, violent Serbian militia stormed Modrici, a small village near the Velebit mountains in northern Dalmatia and wrought terror on Croatian families. Modric grew up practising football in empty parking lots. The Real Madrid midfielder remembers hearing grenades in the background as he practised shots. This past Sunday, he led Croatia to the World Cup final. And while the team lost to France, we all watched in awe as they battled their way through the series. Cue in Kylian Mbappé — we don’t know about you, but from where we’re sitting, dreams, truly are valid.

2. There is no “I” in team

No man is an island, and just as with life, you need a team to win the game. You need a decent keeper, strong midfielders, exciting wingers; heck, even a striker needs assits! You can’t do it alone. Every role is crucial in the team.

3. The key to success is having an organised team

Most World Cup teams do not win because of a single “talent” as many believe. Rather, it comes to organisation. Players playing to their strengths and with a clear system and structure, they go one to make history. In life, just like with the game, you need organisation, effort, discipline and teamwork — these four factors will beat raw talent every single time.

4. You can still win even when you lose

Life looks different from different angles. Croatia may have not bagged the coveted cup, but their loss was in no way a loss. They gave their best, and you could see the authenticity in their game; they gave it their all. They kep winning even as their team lost — it’s all about performing at world-class level.

5. Formations matter

Beyoncé literally stopped the world again with the release of her powerful hit, Formation. There is no question Queen Bey was right on the money.  Winning requires different formations. We could all learn a thing or two from Russia and England. Their coaches, Fabio Capello (Russia) and Roy Hodgson (England), are the reason the teams were knocked out in the first round. Instead of utilising the players and different formations for different games, they dismissed as inconsequential.

6. Anything can happen

This World Cup is an epitome of all that is said about football possibilities. So far we have seen it all and such, is life.

7. Embrace simplicity

Football is a game with simple, straightforward rules. To play the game all you need is a ball. Don’t complicate life, sometimes less is more.

8. Life is unfair. Get used to it

Football shows us that it doesn’t matter how close you were when you missed your goal. It only counts if you score. Similarly in life, efforts, in many a time, don’t matter — it’s all about results produced by the efforts.

9. Persistence wears out resistance

Keep rowing: Life is like a lake with upstream and downstream. Take Guillermo Ochoa, many doubted the Mexican footballer could have stopped all those goals. Memo, as he’s popularly known, focused on  what he was doing and shut everything out. Pressure is part and parcel of life  — learn to manage it.

10. Be flexible

Just when you think you have a full team, injury or suspensions occurs. We’ve seen it time and again in the beloved game. You need to be flexible enough to change and adapt.

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