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Rosso’s Take: A Young Ball-boy, Drenched in Water Dreaming of Greatness

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As I watched the historic Premier League match between Tamale City and Legon Cities yesterday at the Aliu Mahama, alongside thousands others, the sky let loose its content after signs of caution. The stands became a scene of pandemonium as fans sought shelter where they could find shelter, in its popular scarcity. The stadium roofing has been leaky for a long while now, a development the National Sports Authority, NSA seems to have turned a blind eye to.


I used my prayer mat (sajada) to cover my head but 22 players, coaches and match officials had no such refuge. The pitch was totally soaked and that came with attendant dynamics to the game. My gaze fell on a young ball-boy, drenched in water and sitting on the tarmac. I realized his colleagues had run to the tunnel entrances around the stadium. Then, I tried to take a shot of him but my Sadio Mane-like phone’s poor camera couldn’t zoom him enough and still maintain its quality. The rain didn’t help matters either.


I looked around to spot the professional photographers covering the game, in hope that they may capture him, but even they had fled to safety. I lost hope, forgetting that unlike me they could have shots of him wherever they were in the stadium. There sat a boy with a ball under his knees, full of dreams of playing professional football one day. Before him were men living some appreciable level of their dreams and aspiring for bigger heights.


What must have been going through his mind is a matter of prediction. If becoming successful in football rests on faith and passion, he demonstrated both with no room for doubt. Dreams do not necessarily take sleep to come about, sometimes they are birthed in the most chaotic settings. Uncontrollably, I stole glances at him as the game wore on, in absolute admiration of his unshaken resolve to serve the beautiful game.


Whilst at it, my football mind wandered about and arrived at Italian Fabio Cannavaro. The legendary World Cup winning captain was a ball-boy at the 1990 tournament in his homeland, in the famous semifinal between Italy and Argentina in Naples. He would go on to win the Balon d’or, football’s most prestigious individual award, in 2006. This boy has probably heard about Cannavaro but not his story.

He doesn’t really need to know. What he needs to know is that football has fame and fortune waiting for him. Before then though, he has some journey to travel. It will be laden with hard work and sacrifice. Hopefully he pulls through. I do not know him or the club he plays for. If I did, I would befriend him. Life’s breakthroughs often take inexplicable twists, registering landmark scenarios to beautify stories. What a story it would be to tell, of a “rain ball-boy” who goes on to be a superstar footballer!

By: Rossoneri Salecao

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