At the National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving on Tuesday, President Lazarus Chakwera surprised everyone when he dwelt on what is being described as an arguably the greatest FIFA World Cup final in the tournament’s history, by encouraging Malawi citizenry to emulate it as an example of strong will and resilience.
Attended by every leader of the nation at Bingu Convention Centre — that included Vice-President Saulos Chilima; former Vice-President Khumbo Kachale; Cabinet Ministers; Mayor of City of Lilongwe; Members of Parliament; Senior Chiefs and many others — Chakwera said the prayers were organised since the country has been “challenged to remember, reflect and recast our hope and to remember that what God has done for others in the past, He can do for us as well in the present”.
“As we reflect in His goodness, we are challenged to repent because of our evil. As we recast our hope, not just for the immediate future but eternity, we are grateful that God gives us this chance to be able to live our lives in a land so beautiful and so graciously endowed — in order that we might truly love and serve Him and love and serve one another”.
Thus he took to the Sunday’s World Cup final as an example that Malawians can emulate on resilience and the will to succeed, saying: “The whole world witnessed two clear examples of being strong and taking heart.
“The national teams of Argentina and France both faced incredible adversity at different points of the World Cup final. For the French, it looked like defeat was all but certain having been dominated for the 1st one hour of the game.
“But with less than 15 minutes of the game to go, they dug deep and found in themselves a reason and a will to bounce back and give themselves a chance to make history.
“And because they had a reason to believe, they found a way. For the Argentines, it looked like they had lost the momentum and the advantage after conceding two goals in one minute — with their defence under severe pressure in the final minutes of the game.
Thus Chakwera further said: “We too are a nation in great distress but we have a reason to believe that God is with us and in this festive season of Christmas — when God came down to be with us — we must dig deep to find a way.
“What is impossible with man, it is possible with God,” he said, attracting a round of applause and as it subsided, he continued: “Let us never, ever, give up.”
Indeed the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup gave an example of perseverance against all odds as the Argentines went one up in the 23rd minute through captain Lionel Messi from the penalty spot before Ángel Di María made it 2-0 in the 36th.
But France dug deeper that saw Kylian Mbappé scoring with 10 minutes to go (80’) from the penalty spot and went on to score a marvelous equalizer a minute later (81’) for the match to go into extra time.
Messi scored again in the 108th minute but Mbappé would have none of it by converting from the spot in the 118th for the match to go into penalties which Argentines won — their first world title since 1986 which they won captained by late legendary Diego Armando Maradona.
Media outlet Press Association (AP) reports that Messi and his teammates were certainly made to suffer, but eventually they got their hands on the World Cup trophy, saying it’s a moment that will never be forgotten.
The report says the Argentines’ heroic players could barely sum up their feelings after the full-time whistle, with Rodrigo De Paul being quoted by Reuters after the match as saying: “I’ll never forget it. We had to suffer but we deserved to win.
Midfielder Enzo Fernandez, who was crowned the tournament’s best young player, is quoted by Reuters as saying: “It is a moment that I will never erase in my life. Having the chance to win the World Cup with my country is priceless.”
Many Malawians have simply marvelled this cup final and was evident on the faces of the guests at the National Day of Prayer as soon as Chakwera started to talk about it — waiting to hear every word as to why he brought up such a football subject at a gathering for Thanksgiving to God.
Writing on his Facebook page later, the President described the interdenominational service of worship as “a fundamental calendar occasion that esteems freedom of worship, promotes unity and reminds us of the foundations on which this country was birthed”.
“I continue pleading with you to deeply remember where this nation is coming from, reflect on what we can do better presently and recast hope for ourselves and future generations.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :