Football was the major sporting activity when I was in high school; sorry scratch that in Secondary school before you guys start taking shots at me. You know what I mean. I enjoyed playing footie a lot especially with my peers. I know some of you will say who else would I be playing with but the truth is told I always got a shot with my seniors. I wasn’t the best player in my set and what really hurt me in my Junior Secondary School 1 (J.S.S 1) was that I was in J.S.S 1 C. Not that it was a class filled with dullards (of course academically we were sound) but whenever it was time for inter class matches J.S.S 1C never got a chance to play. I really don’t understand how that happened. Throughout my 1st year in Secondary school I was never involved in an inter class match, either as a class player or a mercenary. It was so sad.
In J.S.S 2 a certain dude which we later called Ginto joined us. When he came in I wasn’t in school. I was home because I had an appointment with my Orthodontist. GOD bless you mum for getting me to wear braces, continue to rest in peace (Amen). My return to school was met by some of my friends bragging about this Ginto’s skills on the pitch and that he was better than me, Bizola, Wireless, Yenyen etc. They had played an inter class match while I was away. Ginto was asked to start in defence because he was a tad fat. I don’t know where the idea of putting big people in defence ever came from. He got frustrated at playing as a defender darting forward with the ball beating 4 players and scoring a goal. This confirmed he was a good player. He was named George Weah by one of our seniors we called Blowslap. If you saw George Weah’s goal for Milan in the 95/96 season where he dribbled from his defence and made a solo run to score one of the best goals in Serie A (Italian football league) history. What Ginto did was an exact replica. So that was me missing another competitive game and I was beginning to wonder if I was jinxed.
Rash was the fastest boy in our set then, and Ginto told him he would out run him. They had a bet and they started the race from the assembly ground to the class and Ginto indeed confirmed his supremacy in the sprints. Our green house master saw that very race and told Ginto that he must be in Green house. Ginto walked into the Green house family and he went on to be the best sportsman ever for the house. Luckily for Green house nobody gave him the poor history of the house. I am sure if he knew Green house had been underperformers in the past he wouldn’t have joined them.
J.S.S 3 third term, this time I was in J.S.S 3C. We played inter class matches and my class was a fall hand class as we were beaten in both games we played and sadly Ginto wasn’t in my class. One Sunday evening and our set was playing footie behind the large pitch because the school team were training. As the big boys were jogging one of our teachers came to the field and asked Ginto why he was playing with us (his peers) and that is that where he should be. Ginto looked lost (the teacher in question was a nice person but you wouldn’t know when he was upset or happy). He asked Ginto to join the school team and the team coach was like ‘’se eleyi le gba ball sha’’ (can this one play ball)? The intruding teacher said ‘’ma wo iran’’ (Wait and see). He joined the team, he proved himself and the rest they say is history. He became youngest person (don’t know age wise but class wise he was, lmao) to join the prestigious school team. Oh you want to know the name of the school? My bad, it’s one of the Model Colleges in Lagos.
Ginto was an all round sports man. He was the fastest sprinter in our set, the best basketball player (could cause controversy though), he was fantastic at volleyball, he was a good ping pong player and I am sure if we didn’t have Abacha in green house he would have represented green house at that. Yea we were both in green house then. Green house used to be last every inter house until when we were in Senior Secondary 2 (S.S 2) where we finished third but in our final year we came 1st and I can say Ginto contributed immensely to the success of the house. He won gold in 100m, silver in 200m and you should have seen how he finished the last leg of the 4X100m relay. On getting to the finish line, he somersaulted which showed how far he left the others behind. In the heat he won us gold in shot put with a school record of 16.63 meters and he would have participated in discus and javelin but he wasn’t allowed because you can only take part in two individual track sports and one individual field sport or vice versa. Let me rub this in my female cousin also won gold in shot put for Green house which is still a school record. I also participated in long jump (silver) and javelin (bronze) and football (silver). Yea I wasn’t a sprinter but as house captain I was the leader of the clapperboard team.
Ginto obviously played football for us (Green house) and he was awesome as usual. We didn’t win the football event; we lost to Red house in the final. I respected Ginto for one thing; he was a great team player. Red house beat us 2-1 and our only goal came via a penalty which Ginto won. He dribbled past two defenders and was fouled by the goalkeeper who was his close pal. They smiled at each other and Ginto looked round to find me so I could take the spot kick. I told him to take it since he deserved a goal for all his efforts and his words were Dipo you need to be topscorer even if we aren’t winning. I was touched and trust me after the spot kick they didn’t find that particular ball till after the game.
This Ginto dude is the best sports I have ever been acquainted with. I thought he was going to be a professional footballer. Well turns out he isn’t. The guy na correct business man now but he keeps fit every other day by playing regularly with his friends.
This post is just to appreciate a friend whom I respected back then and still respect now; I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if I didn’t write this. I also respected (still do) all my football buddies back in Secondary school.
Thanks for reading………………………………………………………………. Bless
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