It’s a matter of pride to represent your nation in any sporting event. It gets better when trophies and medals are won.

Cameroun is the new African Football Champion. They did it. It’s no mean feat to take on teams who have the same abilities as you have and beat them to it. It takes hard work, persistence, a high sense of urgency and calculated moves to get this far – felicitations “LES LIONS INDOMITABLES”.

It was a tough journey. Before their coach, Hugo Broos brought out his final list he had called a few players; however these players gave various excuses for their inability to honour the invitation at the last minute – quite disappointing, isn’t it?

The coach never gave up. He called others to join the team.

This is similar to the two parables of Jesus Christ in the Books of Matthew and Luke. In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus Christ talks about a King who invited guests for a wedding and these guests gave various excuses why they couldn’t honour the invitation; and some guests killed the messengers. In the eighth, nineth and tenth verses, the King asks his servants to go out and call any body at all on the streets. The verses: “then saith he to his servants, the wedding is ready but they which were bidden were not worthy, go ye therefore in to the highways and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests”.

In the account of Luke 14:16-24, Jesus narrates how a man made a great supper and when he invited guests to come for the supper they all made excuses. In this case there were three groups of persons: the first said, he had bought a land and he needed to go and see it, the second said, he had bought five yokes of oxen and he had to test them and the last said, he had married and therefore was unable to attend.

In the twenty-first verse it reads: “……… then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind”
I guess this was done with such alacrity – the men and women on the streets were all invited and there was still room, and the man asked that more be called to fill up the space. And in the twenty-fourth verse the man says: “……..that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper”.

In life we make a lot of excuses for various reasons; most of the time because we feel that a certain action is not worth taking or we feel that our egos and personal gains will be sacrificed. Someone once said, “excuses are like leeches, they eat up your vision, motivation and foresight. In one of my morning devotions, “Our Daily Bread, 2010 edition, I came across a statement: “reasons that sound good aren’t always good sound reasons”.

Those players who refused to honour the invitation of Hugo Broos to the Camerounian football national team had good reasons. These reasons may be tangible on face value but a deeper analysis of it is just an attempt to be unpatriotic – to ensure that they had a place in their respective clubs and make some money for themselves, but it’s more glorious to win a trophy with a national team than winning it with a club, if you doubt this assertion ask Samuel Eto’o Fils or our own Abedi Pele.

The American writer and lecturer, Samuel Langhorne Clemens who goes by the pen name Mark Twain, once said: “there’re a thousand excuses for failure but never a good reason”. There can’t be a good reason to fail to represent one’s nation nor even hold one’s nation to ransom except under circumstances detrimental to one’s life – the footballers would have had their names written in the soccer history of Cameroun, Africa and the world, but they lost it.

The Camerounian Football Association may decide never to call any one of them for any national team assignment. One would suggest cheekily, “then they can keep the national team”. Wait a minute, wearing a national jersey and representing your country is greater than all the money one can earn, once again, if you doubt this, ask Sulley Ali Muntari.

A reason not to rise up to a certain occasion may sound tangible, but the consequences of this refusal are dire.
The writer is a freelance journalist. Email:kw.ameblege@hotmail.com/kwameselom12@gmail.com

By: Alex Blege

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