My Encounter With David Beckham, Edgar Davids, Van der Saar, Others – Master Card Raffle Winner, Idowu Obasa

Comrade Idowu Osuolale Obasa is the former Chairman of Onigbongbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA). Currently Chairman of the Bradford Group, Obasa recently won a Master Card Raffle ticket to watch the UEFA Champions League final at the famous Wembley Stadium in London with his wife and in this interview with team, he narrates his experience at the event.

Sir, you won the Master Card free ticket to watch the UEFA Champions League Final live, what was your experience?

In the first instance, I was totally surprised that I won in a raffle draw, that I win anything in any raffle draw. So it came as a surprise to me.

However, I want to acknowledge the huge sum of money  Master Card spent on this project. There are about four or five couples from Nigeria and there are people from about 20 countries of the world, this was an indication that Master Card spent a lot of money on this which I really commended them for and for us, it was a great trip and I must again underline the fact that Master Card spent a lot of money.

Secondly, the organisation was so splendid and professional. I must also emphasis the fact that for me it was a surprise and I’m sure a lot of the winners will also be surprised as well. But for me, it was a pleasant surprise.

Thirdly, we had a great opportunity to make and have an interactive session with Edgar Davids, who had played for Juventus, Ajax, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Holland.
We had about one hour interaction with him and it was such a revealing experience. His explanations on issues were very brilliant. He made one particular comment that made a huge impression on me.

Davids told us that he was aware that we are executives and businessmen with assistants who prepared our briefs; that we also have time to study the briefs and make alterations where necessary before decisions are eventually taken; but in football, there is no such luxury. A footballer has to take decisions fast and these are decisions that can alter the cause of an important match: decisions that can make or mar an important match and decisions that can trigger love or hate from a whole country; and you know these decisions are taken without inputs from any assistant or adviser; this really made an impression on me and I came to realise how intelligent footballers are on the field of play and how such intelligence is needed in abundance to make it successfully as a footballer.

After meeting with Edgar Davids which was part of what was organised by Master Card we now have chance meeting with David Beckham, Arsene Wenger, Edwin Van der Sar I even took a photograph with Van der Sar  which reminded me of how really short I am, because I really couldn’t reach his shoulder level. We saw people like Jamie Carragher, Kalusha Bwalya.

We left for the stadium in the same area together with the aforementioned stars though we boarded different buses. It was such a great opportunity. One thing that struck me was that surprisingly David Beckham was shy; I couldn’t believe it. When he first saw us he tried to dodge but we corner him.

What was your experience at the match proper?

Our experience was terrific. There was so much singing and dancing and from where we were sitting the pitch look very small for 20 men to run around for 90 minutes.

I now realise the need why a footballer needs to be in great control of a ball, pass accurately, not just kick the ball anyhow, no. That means these footballers have mastered the art of measurement which allow them to measure distances like surveyor, to control the ball, to make sure each pass lands precisely where they want the ball to be and the way they were able to dribble, you know, at that small space with a lot of them Jostling for the ball and dribbling and shooting so accurately marvels me.

I marvel at the footballers’ great understanding of the ball and the pitch; of how to use speed to their advantage. That means one really needs to use one’s head and one really needs to be smart to be a footballer at that level.

The match itself was so keenly contested. From statistics, we were told that prior to the match, the two teams had met nine times with Dortmund winning five times and Bayern Munich four times.

So that shows that the match could go either way, and I tell you the first half was mostly dominated by Dortmund and even the earlier part of the second half, but somehow about 25 mins to the end of the match, Bayern Munich started putting pressure and I just think it was the result of that pressure that resulted in the goals.

It was an extremely interesting experience and I commend Master Card for such wonderful organisation.

Were you aware of the raffle draw at all?

I was not and that was the funniest part of the whole show. Apparently  I think it was between Master Card and the banks. It has to do with those who are holding Master Card credit cards. I think the project was done in conjunction with the banks because we have winners with Master Card credit cards of different banks.

I have a Master Card credit card of Unity Bank, another winning couple was holding that of First Bank, there was another couple holding the one of Zenith Bank.

Firstly, I was called and asked if I have an existing UK Visa to which I answered in the affirmative. Then I was informed of the raffle draw and told that I would be contacted if I won and the rest is history.

They sent me an email informing me of my winning and Unity Bank later sent a letter congratulating me. That’s all.

What can you say about the organisation of the final match?

The organisation was superb. I remember when I was in the secondary school at Igbobi College, there was a playground we named Wembley, which goes to show that the Wembley Stadium has been in existence for long, but this is the new Wembley and the organisation was superb.

The supporters of Dortmund are in one side of the stadium while their Munich counterparts are on the other side while those of us neutral are in the middle.

After the match, the gates were flung open and within minutes, the whole stadium was deserted. This reminded me of the last time I entered a stadium in Nigeria was during this stampede in which a lot of people died but in this case, there was no room for any stampede as the stadium’s doors were flung open even few minutes before the end of the match. Indeed, it was a well organised and well planned event.

What lessons can Nigeria learn from this?

So many lessons about organisation, I don’t want to go into that at all, you need to be committed to something in order to do it well. These guys are committed and that’s why they were successful in what they are doing.

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