The Second Coming of Luis Suarez

Disclaimer for the humorless:

I am writing this in the middle of a night as dark as Africa and in a moment of passion as dense. Stylish exaggerations used in the post are to be understood only as pathways to wisdom.

I have just finished watching a most amazing game of soccer, full of divine intervention and drama. Uruguay have just made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup 2010, having been gifted a victory over the only team from Africa to reach the Quarter finals this time.

I was in a foolish dilemma over which side to favor. On one side there was Uruguay whom I saw in the last edition of the World Cup, coming back from 0-3 in the first half to equalize in the second half. That’s no mean feat; it takes character worthy of praise. On the other side, the only team from the sad continent that has taken the brunt of the West’s brutal greed. I found myself annoyingly patronizing towards Africa, and finally decided to rest in the age-old cliche of may the best team win. Perhaps, I should be more honest; I wanted Uruguay to win. I wanted a more experienced team to fight Argentina in the finals. Yeah, yeah, I know.

The match began with Uruguay taking the clear first advantage. The first twenty five minutes of the game were dominated by Uruguay in terms of ball possession and ball play. Luis Suarez, who has scored 3 goals in the tournament, and arguably the World Cup’s best goal too, made the only decent shot at Ghana’s goalpost. It took Ghana some time to get their passes straight and making good claims for a goal. Finally, they started coming into their own in the later twenty minutes of the first half. And in the last dramatic 15 seconds of the first half, Ghana cut into Uruguay’s defense and scored their first goal. 1-0 to Ghana. The reveling reader will please note the pattern of events to unfold.

The goalkeeping on both sides was generally shoddy; Uruguay were a shade better in comparison. I could sense that if the game went into penalties, Uruguay would win, if there was no divine intervention.

I feel the second half is traditionally Uruguay’s forte. They came back strongly and Forlan did what is expected of him. 1-1. But after this, the fizz of the game dried up. It became mundane. Like suddenly the music had stopped playing. Like the pause in Beethoven’s 9th, before the million souls drunk on fire finally enter heaven. The game went into extra time.

The first half of extra time continued to be without much action. Ghana players lost some brownie points from my side for being cheats and fakers for trying to get Uruguay strikers red-carded. Guys, winning hearts is more important than winning matches. Alright, alright, let’s not make the football field a school for moral pedagogy.

The second half saw desperation in both sides. When African players take long shots at the goals, it’s their style; when players from Uruguay do it, it’s frustration.

Suddenly, the last 15 seconds of extra time. Out of nowhere, Ghana get a corner kick. Shoot! Kick! The goalie defends. Kick! Suarez, from the inner cloisters of the goal takes it on his feet. Kick! Suarez on the chest! Kick! Suarez blocks with his hands! Foul! Foul!

Ghana is ecstatic. Suarez could do nothing better. Either it was self-sacrifice or loss. Suarez is red-carded. The ploys of Ghana to get him red-carded failed, and he, like a lamb, offered himself voluntarily in that moment of Passion which St Matthew describes so well. He leaves the field, weeping and repenting.

Ghana take the penalty kick. The ball hits the bar. Madness in Soccer City! The goalie starts talking to the bar. He already knows what it is like to be saved. Suarez, who was wondering whether his sacrifice was any good after all, is experiencing a rapture that mystics have exalted as divine love.Theophany!

Penalty Shoot-Out! As things unfold, Uruguay, the more experienced and seasoned team wins. There is no need for Ghana to weep. Their captain, who missed the penalty, gracefully comforts his teammates. They can only improve from here. While, Uruguay goes to the semi-finals without one of their best strikers, they should only hope that they make possible the second coming of Luis Suarez. In the finals. Hopefully, against Argentina.

p.s. For liberties taken in the post, I plead Ubuntu!

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~ by Bombadil on July 2, 2010.

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