Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Who is the greatest footballer ever

Football in Humour (Inspired by the cartoon Tom and Jerry)
Title: Who is the greatest footballer ever?
Jerry: Hey, tall Tom, why are you sitting on a football?
Tom: Just keep standing over there boy, let me roll it towards you, so that it will compress your Lilliput head and flatten you and kill you for good because you pest me a lot with never ending questions and since I cannot kill you maybe this ball will flatten you and kill you. (He pushes the ball towards Jerry who dodges it.)
Jerry: You missed it like Achille Webo and Mouhamadou Idrissou always miss every single goal scoring opportunity for Cameroon, idiot. Well, your long sentence had many “you’s,” and on that note, “you” haven’t answered my question.
Tom: Yes, it’s because I want us to talk about football today, I’m tired of politics. It is another history making, record breaking moment for Lionel Messi.
Jerry: And what has that little prosaic Argentine done?
Tom: First footballer ever to win the FIFA player of the year award four times and in a row! And he’s still 25! Gosh, best footballer of all times. Messi just made all his predecessors messy. That kid is too tough.
Jerry: Nonsensical nonsense, it seems you never heard these names, Pele, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldinho….
Tom: Hold it right there, if they were too good they should have also won the award four times and should have come second twice. Messi has been at the top for six years straight since 2007! Incredible. And he’s not showing any signs of regressing.
Jerry: Hold it there at your own angle. If Messi was better than these guys, he should have won the World Cup. All these guys won it almost singlehandedly but Messi has never even played a semi final! Shocking, very shocking. And here you are claiming he’s the greatest.
Tom: Look, those guys are done and dusted with their careers, Messi still has to play at least two world cups. He will win it, you will see. That’s the day FIFA will give him the award for the greatest ever to grace the beautiful game even though to me he is the greatest already.
Jerry: He is not even better than his rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tom: Hahaha, where was that awkward legged Portuguese when Messi won it four times in a row since 2009? Was he not also competing hard? But was stuck in second place after the Lionel King? He’ll always be remembered for being second best. Just look at the difference. Most goals scored in the 2012 calendar year; Lionel King -91 goals (that’s a record for your info beating Gerd Muller -85 and your Pele -75), Cristiano Ronaldo -60 goals (his best too.) The rest of the Van Persie, Ibrahimovic, Falcao morons can come in any order. And Messi generally comes out on top with goals, assists and wins when he faces Ronaldo in the El classicos. Say something Lilliput.
Jerry: Messi didn’t win any major trophy in 2012 with all those goals except the minor Copa del Rey, they were useless goals. Ronaldo won the Spanish league with his 60 goals. He’s a more complete player; scores bullet freekicks, scores with the head, shoots and scores with both legs, creates and scores his goals from nothing, his mazy dribbles can get you off your seat while you’re watching and to crown it, he’s very spectacular. That Lilliput Argentine, if you cut off his left leg then he’s finished. His way of playing is so predictable and unspectacular, it’s boring. He’s playing in the best team in the world too and all those his goals were easily served to him by the world’s best midfielders, Xavi and Iniesta. In addition, he’s voted because of his image of humility, Ronaldo isn’t because of his supposedly ‘arrogant’ reputation. Proof -In 2010, Messi won the FIFA player of the year award when he did nothing at the world cup. Everyone knew Iniesta or Xavi deserved it after playing so well in South Africa and winning the trophy.
Tom: Lies, lies, Messi won it because he scored the most goals in 2010, a whapping 47 goals. Do you think he’s just voted for nothing! The guy’s the best. Who will ever beat that record of 91 goals? Nobody. That feat has never been seen before er, before errr, before Lionel Messiiiiii, hahaha. Look, it is not the players of today who are small, it is small Messi who is big and biggest, lol.
Jerry: Ronaldinho isn’t exactly the best ever but when it comes to spectacular football, oh, oh, Dinho. Nobody dares his spectacles. He ‘baptized’ a defender thrice in three straight taps over the head in a champions league game! He flip flapped (the question mark style), he inserted wild nzolohs, he danced Samba before scoring, he performed so many mazy dribbles that made defenders glued to the spot as if there was gum under their boots, they couldn’t even anticipate him or understand what he was doing. What’s more? His blind passes were ice cream sweet. He made you jump from your seat every time singing his praises like a football god. Even old grand mums started watching football because of Gaucho, oh, Gaucho. The little guy Neymar is taking after him but he will never be him. There will always be only one Gaucho.
Tom: It’s good you said he was only spectacular. That guy played heavenly football for a very short period, 2004 and 2005 and won the FIFA player of the year award back to back. In 2006 he dropped a little, started partying and womanizing a lot and by 2007 he had gained weight and was ‘messing’ so hard he became a liability for Barca. He was discarded to AC Milan and that was the end of his career. Look at him now, Flamengo in Brasil! He’s finished.
Jerry: The fame, glamour and glitz got into his head. Gosh, I remember one El classico game in 2005. He did not only score twice in a 3-0 bashing of Real Madrid. He played so spectacularly well and dribbled the Madrid players to the point that when he was being substituted in the dying minutes of the game, the Madrid fans put away their differences with their arch rival Barca and gave Ronaldinho a long standing ovation. The only man to be handed such honour was Diego Armando Maradona, best player of all times.
Tom: Okay, now it’s Maradona. He played for Messi’s Barca for one season in 1982 without any significant performance and trophy. Then left for Napoli. If he was so good, then he should have performed with the same Barca like Messi is doing.
Jerry: What are you saying? He won the 1986 World cup almost singlehandedly for Argentina and took them to the final again in 1990! He was magical for Boca Juniors. He won the Italian league twice for Napoli and ever since he left, Napoli hasn’t won anything. You hear that? Impact, impact, impact.
Tom: Drugs, drugs, drugs, bullshit, the Lance Armstrong of football. Do you know the kind of football Messi would have played at the 2010 world cup if he was on drugs? Or the 2014 world cup next year? He would wallop everybody and win that trophy singlehandedly. Maradona was a cheat, so I would never rate him the best ever, Messi is better than him.
Jerry: Okay, I was just arguing all along, the real undisputable king of soccer is le roi Pele.
Tom: Nonsensical nonsense, Messi is better than Pele. What did Pele do?
Jerry: Are you mad? Pele! Pele won three world cups and scored more than a thousand goals!
Tom: Absolute rubbish. Messi has also won three champions league titles. Look, the most competitive football tournament nowadays is the Champions league. And Messi dribbled the best defenders from all the best nations before scoring another record 14 goals in the champions league in 2012. In the sixties, seventies and eighties, the best football competition was the world cup because many of the best players were still playing in their domestic leagues so the champions league was second. Players only teamed up to play for country; the Africans were playing in Africa, south Americans in south America like your Pele. But things have changed now, the best players in the world are all playing in Europe and the champions of the European countries are playing in the champions league. And Messi is scoring record goals and winning it. Johann Cryff is among the top three footballers ever. He never won the world cup but is up there because of his champions league wins with Ajax and performances with Barcelona. He’s the one who brought this Barca’s style of sexy, possessive football. You mentioned that Pele scored 1000 goals. That’s a career feat. Remember that Messi is only 25 and has scored almost 300. What’s more? He scored 91 goals in the 2012 calendar year. The most Pele scored in a calendar year was 75, 16 more. Let’s keep watching Messi, who knows if he will score 150 in 2013!
Jerry: He will never score 1000 goals, never. Pele was a scoring machine.
Tom: Rubbish, Pele even scored most of those his goals in the Brasilian league playing for Santos and in the US with New York Cosmos. Are those teams? He was a local champion who never even played in Europe, foolish man. If he was so good as he claims, he should have played with Real Madrid, Milan AC, Manchester United or Ajax and scored 1000 goals. Those his goals were useless goals, hear the names of the teams, Santos, New York Cosmos. Do you know how many Messi would score in a calendar year if he was playing for Boca Juniors or River Plate or that Pele’s Santos? He would score 500 goals a year and 1000 in two years, rubbish.
Jerry: Messi will never score 1000 goals, only king Pele.
Tom: He will. Why do you sound like he’s the only one who has done it?
Jerry: Who else?
Tom: Another Brasilian genius, great Romario. In fact, I endorse Romario’s 1000 goals more than Pele’s because he played and scored with top clubs in Europe like PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona etc.
Jerry: Pish Posh, Romario scored his 1000th goal at the age of 42 in 2007 while playing for Vasco Da Gama, a second division team in Brasil then. FIFA didn’t recognize his goals because he scored the 1000th goal in the second division. So Pele still has the record. FIFA considers only first division goals and country goals.
Tom: That’s Pele’s jealous claim. Lilliput, would you take somebody scoring in New York Cosmos seriously? That team is 20th division compared to Barca. Pele’s a local champion; Santos, Cosmos, give me a break. To me he’s no better than a striker playing for Cotonsport and scoring 300 goals per season. Messi’s 300 goals with Barca are more than his 1000 goals, period.
Jerry: Lies, there’s one more person who is better than Messi.
Tom: You’ve exhausted the best names, now who the hell is this new one?
Jerry: Fernando Torres.
Tom: Hahahahaha, don’t let me laugh. That dude’s move from Liverpool to Chelsea was the most expensive football contract in English football history. What did he do? He played 11 consecutive games for Chelsea before scoring his first goal. And then played a shocking 24 games before scoring his second! -Money well spent. He got a few more, then started misfiring again. He’s suffering from a disease called goal drought, worse than Shevchenko’s at Chelsea. To the point that Chelsea realized they had no striker and bought Demba Ba in December 2012 who scored twice on his debut. It’s over for Fernando Torres. I think he should be renamed “Fernando To Rest” on the bench caused by the free scoring black dude from Dakar who is making headlines in London. Elminho my foot. But I agree Lilliput, Fernando To rest is better than Messi.
Jerry: Hahaha, but Fernando To rest is also better than Webo and Idrisou, right?
Tom: Those two boys from Cameroon! No, they are better than To Rest. In fact, they are even better than Messi.
Jerry: Really? Tall Tom!
Tom: Get out, beef, idiot. I swear that, that girl from Brasil called Marta plays better than Webo and Idrisou combined. In fact if you amputate Messi’s left leg and leave him on the pitch he would hop on his right leg only and still play better than both of them put together. Webo, kai, you give him fifty goal scoring opportunities, he scores one. The man’s own juju is that he has never ever scored for Cameroon in a major competition. When he’s invited for a friendly, he scores, sometimes even twice. But when it’s the World Cup or Nations Cup playing alongside Eto’o, forget, juju block’am, Webo would miss and miss and miss and give the fans heart attack.
Jerry: Hahahaha, and Idrissou?
Tom: That one is even worse. He runs and runs out of the field to the clay athletics tracks and abandons the ball, then runs back. He just runs and runs like Usain Bolt. When the ball is crossed to him, he heads and misses and misses despite his height. When he shoots, he fires into the crowd and then starts jogging back with a thumbs up to the crosser. We have interpreted the thumbs up as “you gave me a good cross but I missed it as usual.” And he sweats more than everybody because he’s always running yet he never scores. That dude chose the wrong sport. He should have been a runner and competing against Usain Bolt, I swear he would beat Bolt.
Jerry: Hahahaha, maybe Eto’o’s Juju has blocked their weak jujus.
Tom: Rubbish, don’t blame Papa Eto’o, mess people na mess people. Instead their juju has blocked the eyes of the Cameroonian coaches who keep naming them in their squads and putting them on the pitch to play games instead of young exciting prospects like Aboubakar Vincent and Fabrice Olinga.
Jerry: So who’s the greatest footballer ever?
Tom: Messi
Jerry: Pele
Tom: I say Messi.
Jerry: Tall Tom, these days I think its Torres. But sometimes I don’t know if it’s Webo or Idrisou.
Tom: Idiot, you swine.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My childhood christmas in Cameroon

Christmas is that time of the year when Jesus Christ was born. But when I was young it was something else. It was more than just the birth of our saviour, it was an emotional jamboree. And we enjoyed it more than our parents twenty times. It began with advent and everybody was getting into the groove. We noticed it (we mass servants) when the priest started wearing a purple chasuble during mass. Then it was on. First we would fabricate a small wooden box with a hole in the middle which we called “bank.” Next we would start saving for the big day by inserting coins into it. Any little coin we had; 25frs, 50frs went straight to the bank. And we made every effort not to count what we were inserting so that we would have a surprise on Christmas day.
The Christmas carols went blaring from the radio sets from provision stores and shops. Not discs then, cassettes. “Felix navidad” which we changed to “Felix no fit die,” and many others. This was the only time when balloons better known in pidgin English as “bolo bolo” were sold at 10frs each. We would pay the money and would be given a card to pick a spot representing a number. We would choose hoping to get the big balloons in the balloon set. But we never never got the big ones! (its only when I grew older that I realized that the bolo bolo sellers used to remove the numbers that correspond to the big bolo bolos and sold the big bolo bolos for 100frs or 150frs.) Next we would blow blow blow the bolo bolo to fullness while we developed numb jaws. We would play with it hitting into the air, bouncing it until it touched the apex of bahama grass and poof, it exploded. Or a mischievous friend would prick it with a broom, poof. Everybody around you would start singing that very annoying song, “bolo bolo boss, ten franc go, small pikin loss, igbo man gaaain.” Damn it, shut up, fools. I’m mourning my bolo bolo!
The real intention of the bolo bolo was for house decoration on the Christmas tree or a rope across the parlour ceiling where Christmas cards were hung with the words, “Especially for you at Christmas.” The full blown bolos bolos on that would get smaller and smaller everyday and I would wonder why they grew smaller. As D-day drew ever nearer our banks got wealthier and our parents would buy us our Christmas toys and hide them from us, only to be given on that day. Same with our Christmas dresses. On the 23rd a once in a year thing was done; frying chin chin. The rich mixture of yeast, eggs, milk, margarine, sugar etc and water was cream white, elastic and rubbery like chewing gum. It was very very sweet. We would chew and chew and swallow despite warnings from our parents that it would cause stomach ache. Who di hear that one! We continued chewing. The thing is even sweeter than the chin chin itself. Next, the “belleh bite” came and we are beating our stomachs with our hands and visiting the toilet and squatting for a shit. Lucky us, the mixed yeast did not ache for long. When the chin chin frying was complete, we would eat a handful and it would be locked up in a cupboard out of our reach for the big day. Everything was for the big day.
Another thing which was very common during this season was the Christmas bomb –knock out. Whoa, for us boys it was the ultimate. The best was the three rounder that exploded thrice with a deafening sound. We shut our ears with our palms and took off while the neighbours jumped, shook, gasping for air and rained insults on us. Everywhere you went you would always hear baam baam baaam. Man, my homeboys Fonkem Stephen, Maya, Nickson, Ajong, Bobo, Tumbu, Paulo, Fuh, Mbou and I were the Christmas Bin Ladens of Akale street, Fiango, bombing the whole neighbourhood and running away as fast as our little legs could carry us before the Americans (our parents) caught us. Maya had a tiny bicycle like a shiwawa dog that all of us learnt how to ride on and rode in shifts causing havoc and riding away. Sometimes we were caught and walloped on the head but no way, Christmas fever was on and we the Christmas terrorists made sure the Christmas terrorism went on –we went on bombing and laughing at old adults running for their lives.
24th night: We were given our Christmas dresses which were new and glittery. We were given our toys; either a multi coloured gun or car. Since we were the Christmas terrorists we preferred guns, to shoot everybody dead especially the neighbours we didn’t like. Cars were not easy to carry around too especially lorries. Don’t forget our plastic specs and watches! We jumped up and down happily admiring our new goodies until we were chased to bed but woke up again at midnight when everybody screamed “merry Christmas!” and knock outs were blaring.
Next morning, we bathed and dressed up for church. Gosh, we were like multi coloured tailed peacocks, new Christmas dress; green or purple or yellow specs on, blue watches on the wrists (did I mention that those watches had a stationary time of 4.00 o’clock? Lol, whether it was 4AM or 4PM I would never tell now.) Who cared then? We read the time every now and then. In fact, we knew our watches were better than our parents’. Our specs were more important than their reading glasses. Gun in the hand, off we go. We didn’t hear any single word in church. We got out often to compare clothes and toys with other children.
After church, we went to a photography studio for photos. In my home town of kumba, it was none other than SAKA 39. We stood with our guns ready staring from our specs and tilting our wrists projecting our watches. “Children smile and say cheese,” “cheeeeeese, cheese, cheese” and we are firing our guns as Saka takes the photos such that our teeth will be visible in the pics. At home, we broke open the bank and counted our millions. I remember one time I had 1700 francs in 1995 and I was feeling like Fotso Victor, the richest man in Cameroon. I stuffed all those coins in my pocket and as I moved they jingled displaying my wealth. Damn it, I was the richest person in Cameroon.
Time for lunch at about 1:00pm and we ate rice and stew with a big slice of chicken. We ate saucers full of chin chin and drank sweet drinks like Top Ananas, Top Orange, Top Citron, UCB pamplemouse, Djino, Sprite, Fanta, Coca Cola. We never thought of beer then. Any kind of beer tasted very bitter. We willingly did not eat to our satisfaction because there was still a lot of eating to be done out of the house during the numerous visits.
Next the visits at about 2:00pm. But before that, we had to buy about two packets of knock out (Christmas bomb). A packet-250 francs and one -50 francs and bomb the neighbourhood first baam, someone jumping, insult, we take off, bam, an old adult running, insult, we take off laughing. The knock outs caused chaos to the extend that they were banned but we continued underground. One Christmas before the visits, I went into a store to buy a packet with my kid sister Maureen. As I took it from the counter I passed it on to her so I could get money from my pocket. All of a sudden we heard a hoarse voice, “HEY YOU PEOPLE WITH THE KNOCK OUT DON’T MOVE!!” we turned and saw a tall police officer at the door with both hands in the air ready for the grip. I sprinted like Usain Bolt, bent and passed under his armpit and through the door as he missed me completely (I was as short as a tortoise then!) Maureen followed suit but she was not lucky. He caught her arm and brought her out as she kicked furiously at him. He held her in the air with one arm only. She too was like a fullstop. I was shivering like a leaf in the wind as I knew that he was taking her straight to prison and life imprisonment. She tried one last desperate kick and fell off his hands but he managed to seize the knockout before she took off like an antelope. We calmed down and started the visits.
But that did not stop the Christmas bomb. I slowed down a little but my home boys did not. I saw Ajong light up his bomb and threw it into the open window of a moving taxi before evaporating. I could only imagine the panic and shouting as the bomb exploded thrice in that car. We visited our uncles, aunts, family friends displaying our guns, specs and watches along the way. Children, children everywhere. It was like a new Cameroonian republic of children that day. And everywhere we went, we ate and ate and ate and drank and drank and drank and developed bulging bellies like we had swallowed giant footballs. We the boys became pregnant with food such that we couldn’t walk. And they played us music for us to dance. There was Zaiko in 1994, “Asa kiseeh, mboss mboss mboss, mama, papa tuni na tunini na yoh, Ah yah, yah, ca c’est bon ca!” There was Meiway’s Zoblazo “La Zob, la zob, Zoblazo on a gagne!” There was Michael Jackson for us to moon walk.
As we concluded the visits, we continued by wandering all over town aimlessly at about 5:30pm. We emptied our pockets on biscuits, Jaco, chewing gum, Christmas bomb. We showed off clothes, toys, specs, watches, threw bombs, caused mischief, did anything worth remembering later. And in the evening when night came, there was no clubbing. But some bold children paid 100 francs and got into the only very popular dancing spot for children called Youth Centre Fiango. My parents were strict, so by 7:00pm I went back home to avoid any scolding and thrashing. But those children with parents who were not from strict homes danced in Youth Centre till they closed. Other children from strict homes who stayed in Youth Centre for too long had their parents pulling them out of the place with knuckle knocks on their foreheads “cracks” and slaps. So I went to bed on Christmas day at about 8:00pm with a pregnant stomach, tired but also willing to be in Youth Centre. My childhood Christmases were the bomb. It’s a far cry from now when I worked very hard at the airport on Christmas day in 2011 and 2012. The flights I was scheduled to work on weren’t cancelled. Besides, that child like enthusiasm for Christmas has simply gone away. Now I’m admiring these young ones celebrating instead.
NB: I credit my Nigerian/Cameroonian facebook friend, Elias Ozikpu for making these memories stroll back after I read his facebook post about his Christmas experiences in Souza, Cameroon.