Death of a sportsman
What is life? Shakespeare, in Macbeth says: Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/And then is heard no more: it is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing.
The end of life (death) has always been a point of consternation. Coming to terms with our own mortality is perhaps one of the biggest reality checks that has in most cases invoked fear, anxiety, tending towards absurdity. Sometimes death can seem distant especially when the victims are not known to us. The haze that covers death finally clears up when those closely known to us finally succumb.
The untimely death of Rwanda’s international Patrick Mafisango has shocked the football fraternity in the region and beyond. News of his sudden death started sipping in the wee hours of Thursday shortly after he was involved in a tragic car accident in Tanzania where he plied his trade with Simba SC. And so untimely it was that some newspapers in Tanzania, the day he died, were reporting news of his recall to the Rwandan national side after one year of absence.
News of his demise was greeted with shock and grief by football administrators and fans alike. Radio sports talk shows have been jammed with callers with messages of condolences. The National team which Mafisango was set to join for a residential training in preparation for international engagements observed a moment of silence in his honor. Grief was written on their faces.
James Barron Hope, a poet and author says that ‘tis after death that we measure men but for Mafisango the jury (football fans) had already passed its verdict while he still lived and have only put it in stone after his death: Mafisango was no ordinary man.
From his native Democratic Republic of Congo, Mafisango was introduced to the Rwandan football fraternity by Rwandan giants APR FC after he was recruited from TP Mazembe. His outstanding talent earned him a call to the national side where he exemplified unequalled commitment illustrated by his relentless pursuit to win games for his country. The fans christened him ‘Patriot’ in recognition of his fighting sprit.
There is no doubt that his death is a big blow to his family and Country but what do we learn from Mafisango’s life and death? The biggest lesson is the zeal to achieve in our different stations in life. You don’t have to be a football star to make a difference. Striving to be the best person you can be at your place of work, school, village, and home should be everyone’s desire. It is a reminder that good deeds are recognized and will forever be immortalized.
Mafisango’s life and death reminds us of our mortality, that our time to make a mark on our families, communities and country is limited. How well we use this time determines the legacy that we will leave behind for posterity.
National football team coach Milutin Micho no doubt has a tough job of steering up team morale after the devastating news. But the Mafisango’s desire to win for his country to the point of even chasing lost causes should drive the team forward. Winning games will be a befitting tribute to their fallen colleague.
Fare thee well Patriot!
Contact email: burkepal[at]gmail.com