Birthdays are among the most celebrated events of our lives. It is always very special and comes with a lot of gratitude, good wishes and hopes of better days ahead.
There’s no other time to pay tribute to the best manager Imo state has ever had in the field of administration, other than on his birthday.
And instead of joining thousands of well-wishers that have been sending their birthday wishes on the pages of newspapers to congratulate the peoples governor, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha [pictured above] on his 53rd birthday, September 22nd, I decided to do something different. Assemble my First 11 team players, who like a duck, have remained calm and unruffled on the surface but have been paddling like the dickens underneath, in ensuring the peoples governor’s administration remains a reference point across the federation.
The Special one, Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha, a tactical coach cum manager is an epitome of a record breaker. He has broken many records in the field of governance and public leadership since he took over as the manager of Rescue Mission FC on May 29th, 2011 and one of such records is the overall winner of “free education across the federation”. His team has remained defending champions in that sector for the 4th consecutive year” in 2015.
On his choice of players, the team manager, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, don’t just go for players with skills, he goes for the right players with character, attitude and ethics that would suit each of the positions they will be occupying and in the governor’s ensemble are intellectuals, technocrats and other professionals who have proven themselves in their chosen careers.
Time and space would not allow me to list out the constellation stars Rescue Mission FC had produced in the past but will picturesquely pen down my trail blazing First 11 of the current team.
With a 4-4-2 formation, the team has consistently been in top form and at the #1 position is the diction, “Imo state is in the hands of God”. No other hand does it better at the goal post more than that of Her Excellency, Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha; the First Lady and Mother of Imo state; a tested and trusted keeper in and off the field. Her staying power and tenacity and her series of clear cut saves have made her the team’s favorite. She remains the team manager’s first and only choice.
At right full back is #2. The number 2 man in Imo state, Prince Eze Madumere, the Deputy Governor of Imo state. Doubles as an assistant coach and a right back defender. Defends the right back and prevents opposing players, particularly wingers, from penetrating the defense, blocking shots and intercepting passes. Vastly experienced defender, with an iron clad reputation. His statistics remains as formidable as before. This season alone he has won almost 90% of his tackles, completed 85% of his passes than any other full back.
At the left full back is #3. Rev’d Dr. Bunmi Babs. The Imo state government house chaplain; the spiritual back bone of the team. He is a creative force at left back. One of the most accessible in the team has won many converts through his puritanic skills on the field of play and has set up goals through countless assists than any other full-back. The team manager has been impressed with his left-back’s effortless adjustment to the top flight.
At #4 is the defensive mid-fielder, HRH Eze Samuel Ohiri, Chairman, Imo State Council of Ndi Eze. Is charged with breaking up opposition attacks and when the team is on the back foot, acts as an extra member of the defense and with his traditional style of play, protects the defense from the ragging force of the opponents’ strike force.
At the centre back is #5. Hon. Chike Okafor, member representing Okigwe South in The Federal House of Representatives. The centre back’s main job is to repel the attacks of the opposing team. Primarily by tackling and averting danger out of the defense zone. Pairing with #5 is #6 Hon. Acho Ihim, member representing Okigwe Constituency and Speaker, Imo state House of Assembly. Both centre backs have been able to adopt legislative decorum on the field of play, outmaneuvering opponents’ attackers from passing forward and dribbling toward the goal or shooting.
At #7 is Com. Uka Daniel Anya. Chairman, Task Force Committee on Reorganization of Artisans. One of the invisible back bones of the team. Plays as the advanced forward on the right wing, good at dribbling and circumventing defenders, also creates goal opportunities for the finishers.
At #8 is Sam Onwuemedo. The Chief Press Secretary, Imo State Government. Public Relations (PR) is about managing reputation. He has been managing the team’s reputation through his scoring abilities as a supporting striker.
At #9 is Engr Ken Uju. The Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations). One of the latest signings has blended and developed into a key striker. On the field, he operates in front of the second strikers or central attacking mid fielders. His finishing has been impressively clinical, his awareness, guile and ruthlessness in front of goal makes him a tough task to defend.
At #10 is Hon. Uche Nwosu, (Ugwumba). The Chief Of Staff, Imo State Government. A bonhomie – “whose gentleness, equanimity and benevolence is unrivalled”.
As the play maker, is always positioned behind the #9 striker so he could get the ball easily. He has the manager’s strategies down to science and acts as his transplant personality on the field. Through hard work, dedication, loyalty and proper instruction has not only earned himself the #10 role on the team but has been able to transform the entire team with his prolific and serial scoring abilities.
At the #11th position is a conglomeration of stars with roots everywhere, they include, the good people of Imo state that have been very supportive right from the formation of the team and have been following the team’s performance passionately. The outfield players too— the critics— who have even in the face of commendable achievements have been firing the team coach from all cylinders.
The team is Imo state and the team manager is the peoples governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, while the 11 players includes— elected officials, political appointees, civil servants, teachers, businessmen, market men and women, the school communities, religious bodies, students, parents, youths, the disabled, less-privileged, intellectuals, technicians, Council of Ndieze, politicians, the media (print and electronic) and every other persons whose unalloyed support for the team is unparalleled.
Last line: The beauty of a building is made evident only when the construction of its foundation stands the test of time. Owelle Rochas Okorocha! You are our foundation and mentor. Happy 53rd Birthday Sir.
Joseph Chimezie writes from Owerri, Imo state.