It was half-time and our team was leading. We were all excited. We rushed and gathered round the games captain and the team coach eager to hear what they had to say. As soon as we formed a circle around them, we bowed our heads for prayer. Soon after, we started discussing the progress of the team. At the sight of our faces, one would have deduced that we were as happy as larks. It was beyond our imagination that we would win the most coveted prize; the Tournament Cup

“I know you are determined to win, your exemplary hard work has proved that beyond doubt,” our coach said. “However remain steady. Play with your mind and not heart otherwise you will become last in no time. Defenders, well done but try to strengthen your format. Let’s show these Tigers what we are really made of.” He concluded.

Punching the air in triumph, we marched back to the field not knowing what fate has in store for us that particular session. Immediately the .whistle was blown and the ball was shot into the air by the referee, a struggle ensued. With all the agility and speed of a striking cobra, Musa, our best player was in full control of the ball.

He glided through the field like a hot knife through ^u’ ‘ not hesitating even for a second. All of a sudden, we saw his face contorting into a mask of horror. The Tigers who were built with twitching muscles had aligned themselves at the goal-mouth. All of them had the expression, “Dead end” written on their faces.

Musa’s efforts to shoot the ball into the net proved as useless as a snake’s slough. The giants of men advanced menacingly and with a fiery war cry, took possession of the ball and raced at a jet-fighter’s speed towards our goalkeeper. Due to our overconfidence, we had left Mike, the goalkeeper. minus any defense. Despite the fact that we raced until we huffed and puffed in fatigue, it was too late. A cool shot from one of Tigers that passed Mike by an inch tore through the air and landed into the goal accurately. Cheers and jeers from numerous fans smote the air as we hang our heads in utmost shame consoling ourselves with the wiremen’s saying, “It is never too late till the whistle blows,” we summoned our energy and swore to work to

the bone so as to equalize.

As the wiremen say, “Lady-luck smiles at each person once,” our luck had gone with the first half. All our dire efforts to even reach near our opponents goal mouth hit a brick wall. None of our players was having luck. Soon, we fell apart. It was now a game of everyone for himself and God for us all. Without putting in mind that unity is solidarity, we all decided to play according to our wishes.

“Tiger! Tiger! Bears down! Bears down!” Infuriated spectators shouted as the Tigers strikers neared our goal mouth. We were all set to uphold our dignity through thick and thin. In a bid to prevent the ball from penetrating into the goal, we sprang in the opposite direction only to see the ball landing squarely in

the net.

      Stinging tears rolled down my cheeks as I tried to stand. It was painful that even after practicing for a      whole week, we had been beaten. Fans cheered as the Tigers went to the podium to receive their well- deserved prize. For us, the losers watching our opponents taking the award home was a fact too

                      much to bear.

We regretted our utter are gangue and wished we could turn back the clock but alas! Regrets come after      

               deeds. We had learnt a lesson worth remembrance; pride comes before a fall.



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