Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24 Nigeria. The stories here come from users.


But where is this God of soccer?

15 October 2014, 22:26 Theophilus C. Nwajiobi

In May 2012, something amazing happened in European club football. It was the winning of the vital UEFA Champions League trophy by Chelsea Football Club of England. The fact that Chelsea won against all odds and expectations -beating the then-on-fire Barcelona FC in the semi-finals of the competition, and doing same to match favourites, FC Bayern Munich on their (Bayern’s) home soil in the finals was for many viewers a matter of divine intervention. For them, Chelsea was simply favoured by the god of soccer. But the veracity or even the rationality of this assumption certainly cannot be taken for granted.

The game of soccer, also known as football is obviously the most followed sports in the world, and apparently the most fascinating. Played at all levels, from unrefereed teams of a few (not necessarily as many as the standard eleven players) children without spectators in a field of any size, with pairs of coats as goal posts, and not strictly conforming to the rules, to strictly regulated games between teams of highly competent professional players before enthusiastic crowds of 100,000 or more in a purpose built stadium-it is virtually impossible to stride a kilometer radius of any human community without finding a potential or actual play ground for the game of football. And statistics show that at the turn of the 21st century, the game was played by over 200 million players in over 200 countries, and with over 4 billion spectators, making it the world's most popular sports.

Also read: I'm just a servant of football - Blatter 

Little wonder that soccer is regarded as the king of sports, and a popular media catchphrase would regard it as much more than a game. Even more so a friend of mine once noted that ‘football is a religion, the largest religion in the world’. This is most true, since the game is also played at the national, international and club levels; played by people of both genders. But if football is a religion, who or what is her god? Who is the god of soccer? How does he operate?

For some people, the god of soccer is simply their hero of the game; just as many would regard Pele, or Lionel Messi in contemporary football. But this is not the sense which I wish to portray here. By the god of soccer, I mean that god that decides the fate of the game of soccer; that god that determines the result of a football match, especially in crucial ties; the god that favours one side (the winners), and disfavours the others (the losers) at the end of the ninety minutes or more of play.

The existence of this god would be readily affirmed by many who might think that his manifestations are too obvious to be ignored or denied, otherwise why is it that oftentimes, the pre-match favourites do not get to win, and the underdogs dramatically do. Why is it that the better team on the pitch does not always emerge victorious? Isn’t it a pointer to some supernatural force that manipulates the outcome of the matches?  

The beauty of a standard football match is that 22 players battle in two camps of 11 each, with three umpires to moderate. Any one or more of these have a huge role to play in deciding the result in the sense that a slight error by one of the players, or on the other hand, a chance manifestation of talent by a talisman; a collective team tactics; a display of competence or otherwise by any of the umpires, etc. any of these can seal the fate of the match. Someone had said that for a good team to win in a game of soccer, all their players must stay focused throughout the game. But how is that possible, I mean for all eleven to remain so for a period of ninety minutes plus?  On the long run, a brief moment of loss of concentration might make or marl the match.

Taking the Chelsea vs Barcelona game as a case study, many would say the soccer god favoured Chelsea against the run of play. But this in my view is a mistaken stance. Barcelona FC had a formidable team which on paper ranked higher than that of Chelsea. But remember also that experience counts in this game, and this is where in my opinion, Chelsea had an edge. Moreover, having tried several years without success to get at the trophy, Chelsea players were both hungrier for the title and on the average a bit older in experience than their Barca counterparts who incidentally had just lifted the trophy a few years back. Again, Barca were unrivalled in their great attacking football, embellished with long moments of ball possession. But they had a weak point which was a porous defense. Chelsea on the other hand knew better than to attack, and if they could not attack, they could at least defend, and rely more on the counterattacks. This was a tactics that saw them through the two legged encounter to the finals. And you would agree with me that subsequent football clubs that defeated Barca simply borrowed a leaf from Chelsea.

The point here is not to take an atheistic stance on the influence of God on human affairs, but to state emphatically that God (or god for that matter) does not favour one team against another in a football match. One might successfully predict, or even prophesy about the result of a match, as the visionary Nigerian pastor T.B. Joshua is wont to do; or as the famous octopus of FIFA World Cup, South Africa 2010. But God’s omniscience is not to be confused with or mistaken for his omnipotence. God does not intervene in the game of football any more than he does in deciding who takes first or last position in a classroom, or who wins in an election. For just as an intelligent student beleaguered by ill health, or distracted from studies, or careless in tackling his exam questions, might not hope to perform well, so also is a good team without proper preparations or reckless in execution of duty unlikely to win a match. As (God’s) grace builds on nature, so does the god of soccer determine the outcome of a football match. This is most true if a secondary school football team can by no means defeat a top football club in Europe. So what we see at the end of a football match is but the result of a twist of several factors which include skills, strength, strategy, mental alertness, carefulness, resilience, fairness, etc. These are the factors that determine the winners of the game of soccer.


Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...