THE Red Devils of South Korea weren’t an easy match for the Quitalian Desert Camels that unforgettable Saturday.
Both VeShadd and Staka had thought to quickly wrap things up in the 1st half of the round sixteen qualifier match by scoring as many goals as possible for the Quitalian team.
Just so the team’s coach would grant them their desired break from the match before the second half would begin.
But the ferocious Red Devils weren’t going to take a defeat from an army of Desert Camels on the football pitch. However bulky and threatening they appear.
The whole world was aware of Quitalia’s style of playing.
The national team was the only team in the World Cup that attacked from the very rear. With the team’s goalkeeper doing the rarest striker attack right from the goal post, in fact.
The South Korean football team had, therefore, deployed a way to tie up the Desert Camel to an oak tree.
While Quitalia placed two defenders behind in their formation as they’d always done in their matches so far, the South Korean team placed five strikers against Quitalia’s two defenders.
And both the Red Devils and its opposing daredevils used the same mad formation for the all-important knockout match.
A formation of 2-3-5.
But then, the Quitalian team’s captain Tai VeShadd was too preoccupied with the worries of getting done with the match as soon as possible.
So he wasn’t able to pay attention to the similarity in both team’s formations.
Like VeShadd, Staka was also preoccupied with finishing his play in the 1st half.
As the 1st half went on, Staka thought to use VeShadd’s record breaking, goal scoring, end to end goal kick.
Staka made a long pass to the ace goalkeeper. And before the ball could reach VeShadd at the post, two South Korean strikers intercepted the ball at a time.
The fierce devils had been strategically placed to intercept passes going to a fire breathing striker goalkeeper.
The two Red Devil strikers teamed up in a fast skidding display of dribbling tactics.
Something that came to stay in that 2018 World Cup as the best dribble of the decade. In the entire World of Sports.
And while the spectators held their breath in a moment’s rush of cascading emotions, the fast skidding ball was soon fired into Quitalia’s unguarded net.
And it was 1-0. South Korea, 1. Quitalia, 0.
It was after the goal that the Quitalia team’s captain took note of the opponent’s formation to be similar to theirs.
He hurriedly passed across an instruction to his team to change their formation in no time.
And Quitalia adopted a new formation. 3-3-4.
But then, it was already too late. The South Koreans now made every effort to intercept all balls passed back to the dreadful Tai VeShadd.
It didn’t take Staka too long to notice that the Red Devils wouldn’t give the minutest opportunity for VeShadd to strike a scoring goal kick from his post.
The striking Red Devils were all around the goalkeeper like a swarm of locusts.
Staka took the initiative and decided to take advantage of the draught of defenders on South Korean’s goalpost.
The South Korean team had placed only two players to defend its net.
Staka soon intercepted a short pass from one of South Korean’s defenders and stopped the ball with a foot.
In a jiffy, the defender along with two other South Korean players charged towards Staka to get possession of the ball and quickly prevent a likely goal.
Three Quitalian players too scrambled to strategically place themselves around South Korea’s goalpost for Staka’s ball.
Within a moment, Staka raised the ball and shot an unexpected ball at the goalpost with a tactical bicycle kick.
And with a parabola reversed shot, the ball hit the top left corner of the goalpost, deflected to the centre space and bounced into the net… At the 34th minute of the tough match.
The Red Devil goalie wasn’t able to save such a sudden, confusing tactical ball.
It was a goal…
South Korea, 1. Quitalia, 1.
The Desert Camels were able to pull a draw with the Red Devils already.
But that wasn’t enough for the team. They wanted more goals but the opponent wasn’t going to give them what they want.
VeShadd was frustrated and same went for the other players in his team.
VeShadd dearly wished his team could secure as many goals as possible in the 1st half. So their team’s coach could freely substitute him in the 2nd half and he’d be able to carry out his plan.
After an added 2 minutes of extra time at the end of 45 minutes of the 1st half play, the referee blew the whistle and it was half time.
VeShadd sipped a bottle of water and emptied the rest on his head.
And then, he rushed up to Staka; and the two young men hurried out of the pitch and headed for the washroom…
To carry out their all-important fateful plan.
The Jan’ils were still in the executive hotel suite turned an exclusive hospital ward.
Doctor Raiib had come to examine Beya, who had just woken up from coma.
And the doctor had stated that the young lady had recovered a great deal and that she could go home with her family by the end of day.
She would only have to do more of resting daily, he said. And she’d soon be perfectly fine and back to her daily activities
Beya’s parents were overjoyed.
Mr Jan’il talked with her daughter. And father and daughter chuckled and laughed like they just reunited after ages of parting.
Mr Jan’il laughed at himself, about the fact that when he was reading aloud Beya’s copy of Lord of the Rings book series to her in coma, he was soon engrossed and was reading to himself.
He joked that he had just lost the right to complain about Beya obsession with popular fiction. He told Beya he’d have to keep that series of Lord of the Rings for about a couple of weeks.
‘And, you know,’ Mr Jan’il added, ‘Dad’s so embarrassed to admit that this time around I’m not ceasing it but I’m reading it!’
Beya chuckled. ‘And I’m loaning you, huh!’
Mrs Jan’il switched on the TV in the hotel room.
The first channel she tuned to was showing a quick recap of the just-concluded 1st half of Quitalia’s match against South Korea.
Mrs Jan’il knew Beya might be hurt with the sight of Tai VeShadd, her assaulter. So she quickly flipped the channel through other ones.
She soon came on a channel that wasn’t talking about the match. The channel was just airing their afternoon news.
Mrs Jan’il decided to join the father-daughter talk.
But she was stopped by a voice on TV. It wasn’t a familiar one but the things it was saying was absolutely not unfamiliar.
The news channel had suddenly switched to a live video clip.
It was VeShadd going live in confessing his crime on the Internet.
His crime of rape and violence on a certain Miss Beya; who he happened to have an acquaintance with.
And who, in a bid to cover up the incident, was secretly hospitalised in his hotel suite.
For she fell into a state of coma after he assaulted her.
It was breaking news and the news channel was fast enough to catch up on it.
VeShadd apologised to Beya and her family for the threats and inhumane treatment they were subjected to by his backup, the World Union, just so the case could be buried to save his head.
‘As much as I will like to be among the golden team that wins the World Cup,’ VeShadd said in a solemn voice, as he wound up his confession, ‘I believe I’m not worthy of holding that trophy in my hands.
‘I admit to my crime and will surrender myself to the authorities to be investigated and punished for my atrocities.
‘I have learnt through my experience that weaknesses and flaws aren’t virtues to be proud of at all. They aren’t merely habits to indulge or excuse.
‘They are time bombs that should be gotten rid of by asking the Holy Spirit of God to burn them with His fire, and turn those weaknesses into strengths…
‘Just like raw gold is refined in the furnace and made pure and strong!
‘I was nonchalant to the word of God about my flaw and I didn’t ask for the pleasant fire of the Holy Spirit to refine me.
‘But I am given an undeserved second chance now. So, rather than being completely destroyed by my flaw, I will be going through the painful fire of affliction to refine me…
‘Instead of the peaceful fire of the Holy Spirit that I could have sought for while I had the opportunity.
‘People, your weakness may be as common and ordinary as anger, lust, pride, or even drinking.
‘Or they may be as big and embarrassing as addiction to sex or pornography; or even incest, pedophilia or homosexuality.
‘Whatever they are, they are besetting sins and they operate exactly like time bombs.
‘Small as they may appear, they would someday blast up a sky high explosion that could raise down an entire life!
‘Just if you do not desperately cry to God now to do something about that ticking bomb!
‘I, Tai VeShadd, am a sorry testimony of that fact. Please do not end up like me!’
And with that the footballer finished his live recording.
VeShadd’s video went viral like the spread of a global pandemic. The news reached Coach Alhi in no time and he knew VeShadd couldn’t continue to play.
Quitalia went on with the World Cup but without VeShadd. For the accomplished footballer was soon arrested and tried in court for his crime.
Tai VeShadd was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment on a two count charge of rape and attempted murder.
The seven years’ imprisonment wasn’t a big deal to VeShadd anymore. For there was grace from Heaven to go through the affliction fire unscathed.
It was better to him than the soul’s maddening prison he’d been in for what seemed like ages… in the struggle to cover his sin.
Now he was absolutely sure he would no longer be a slave of that weakness that wanted to destroy him.
Tai VeShadd lost his illustrious, world celebrated football career to a tiny flaw.
One tiny flaw that super-magnified itself into a monstrous bulldozer. Just when the young man’s shine was the brightest in the entire world.
Mrs Jan’il turned off the TV with the remote.
The family of three all heaved a deep sigh and went absolutely silent after.
They had always wanted justice. And now that justice was right in front of them, they lack the expression to articulate how dreadful it felt.
At last, Mr Jani’l broke the silence with a deepened sigh.
‘Ah, they call God the Dreadful Avenger!’ he said.
Thank you for following through the journey and experience of the novel PENALTY.
But a mere reading experience can transcend into a lasting encounter with the the Lord GOD Who redeems, remoulds and refines!
Just if you cry out to Him for a great transformation.
Why not lay your soul bare before Him in desperate prayers, with all its flaws, weaknesses and frailties.
Why not cry out to His Holy Spirit with all your heart that He consumes all besetting sins lurking in your flesh with His holy fire!
Ask Him to turn your sore weaknesses into valiant strengths…
And make you rise up again a refined, golden soul!
Download PENALTY as eBook for Keep or for Sharing with Friends – by CLICKING HERE.