Recently, David Beckham announced his retirement from playing professional football. We publish below the article that we published on 21st January 2010, at the time the Flames were participating in the finals of 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. In the article, we discussed the big lesson that we can learn from Beckham and some of our local football legends:
Over the past few days, many people have been following the proceedings of the finals for the Africa Cup of Nations 2010. A lot of people are excited because Malawi is participating in the final rounds, 26 years since we last had such a rare chance. Few people are drawing success lessons from soccer and yet there is so much that we can learn from soccer and apply it to our own career.
Kinnah Phiri, the coach for the Malawi Football Team (the Flames) has been key to our success story this year. We know that he took Big Bullets (then Bakili Bullets) to an international level of competition. And now he has taken the Flames to the finals of Africa. How has he made himself so special – others call him ‘Malawi’s Special One’. Remember that in his whole life, Kinnah has done nothing else other than football. From his secondary school days at Chaminade in the 70s until today, Kinnah has been deep into football. He has maintained one line in his life.
Another star that Malawi is proud of is the Flames Captain, Peter Mponda. He is an outstanding player and as defender and captain, he has also been pivotal to our success in building up to our qualification. He has defended against some of Africa’s most decorated players including the likes of Chelsea’s Drogba. History is being made in our midst. But again Peter has been a defender almost his whole life. We can say the same thing about our outstanding goalkeeper Swadick Sanudi and the same with the FAM technical director Jack Chamangwana. They have all maintained one line of career in life, which has taken them to the top of their success and achievement.
And if you look at the international stage, you see such big names in football like David Beckham. He made his name for being a great middle fielder, first for Manchester United and a few other clubs after that. And for the English Football Team, he was captain. Beckham is always key on the field of play. He is particularly known for his outstanding and very unique free-kicks. When I was in research, we used to joke that it would be interesting to develop a model for the mathematical equation that describes the curved path that Beckham’s free-kicks take! He bends his free-kicks like no one else in the world.
Beckham’s dad usually speaks of how he spent many long hours training his little David long time ago, in some park in London. David developed his unique skills through extensive training that started when he was very young and he has kept to that line.
Clearly, all the people that do amazing things and achieve big things have one thing in common: total dedication and commitment to the one thing they enjoy and love, over a long time. Many fail to stand out in life because they keep trying different things. What is the ONE thing that you have been doing over the last 10, 20 or 30 or 40 years? What is the ONE thing that you will be doing the rest of life? For you to rise and shine, do just ONE main thing in life. Yes, you are allowed to have hobbies and a few other small things on the sides but for you to rise and shine you must have ONE main thing that you stick to. If you do this, you will bend it like Beckham, you will defend like Mponda and you will coach like Kinnah, in your own way and in your own field. This is how you will rise and shine!