“Inside, we wanted all that stuff to stop. When you play a match and you’re surrounded by rocket-launchers … okay, that’s for the president’s security, fine. But you’re playing with rocket-launchers everywhere. We wanted to play in a more relaxed atmosphere again. So after that game, we were euphoric, and someone whispered in my ear that it was the right time to put out a message. Then we just improvised.”
This was said by one of the best footballers Ivory Coast has ever produced – Didier Drogba. The ex-Chelsea striker was not just known for his exceptional football skills, but also for his contributions off the field. When he helped his team qualify for the 2006 World Cup, he wasn’t happy with the occasion. It was during the same time when the civil war was going all over his country leaving a lot of causalities.
The Ivorian after the qualification match, took up a microphone in the dressing room and fell to his knees live on national television with other members of the national team in the background. He pleaded to both the warring factions to lay down their arms and quite miraculously, within just a week, the 27-year old’s wish was granted amongst heavy popularity and pressure because of the video.
The above is just one instance wherein the sport of football became instrumental in stopping a war or conflict. Just like any other sport, football is something that breaks barriers and keeps everyone united. After all, this is one of the reasons why today, it is the most watched sport on the planet.
Planet Earth has been affected by a bad cancer for the past few centuries. The main cause which led to this was simply the creation of more humans and giving more intelligence to him. More intelligence to create, preach misinterpret and fight on the basis of religion. This cancer aggravated over the years with a tumor called terrorism.
The actions of various terrorist organizations these days, has been so shameful and embarrassing, to the point that we wonder whether these terrorists have ever heard about words like “humanity”, “empathy” and “peace”. The atrocities inflicted by them these days are reaching unimaginable levels with even the beautiful sport of Football being targeted.
A few days back in Paris, a large scale terrorist attack took place, with three suicide bombers targeting the vicinity of Stade de France where 80,000 people had come together to watch their country play against the world champions, Germany.
One of those suicide bombers attempted to enter the stadium with the plan of detonating himself, causing a deadly stampede. Luckily, a police officer spotted him during security checks and a large scale disaster and chaos was avoided. But the other two bombers exploded outside the stadium and many deaths were reported. Following this, friendly matches between Germany and Netherlands as well as Belgium and Spain were called off because of “security issues”.
If the ISIS thought that they would instill fear into the people by targeting football, then they were probably wrong. Ironically, the attacks did nothing but to unite people from all over the world. This has led to widespread protests and overwhelming support to these protests against the attacks in Paris and elsewhere, from various countries.
On Tuesday night, more than 80,000 people in Wembley stadium, England, sang the national anthem of France to show their unity and support for the country. This was held prior to the friendly match between England and France.
In Portsmouth, football supporters literally stood in solidarity with those who died on Friday’s horrific terror attacks in Paris, by chanting “stand up if you hate ISIS” during a match against AFC Wimbledon on Sunday. Be it cricket or any other sport, everyone observed a minute of silence before their matches to remember those who died in the attacks.
The actions above show what “real victory” looks like. The “real victory”, wherein people still care about humanity and peace, the “real victory” where people have the courage to dare the forces that have been killing others, the “real victory” where people still come together in large numbers and cheer for their respective teams despite the so called “threats” and attacks. Despite the attacks, Ligue 1 will still happen and so will other leagues all over Europe. The fans will still come like they normally do, and cheer for their team. This “real victory” has made the score line-
Football 1 – 0 Terrorists.