The African Nations Cup usually is a tournament of joy. The best national teams from all over Africa meet to determine their champion. Spectators playing drums, singing and dancing on the stands, teams in colorful jerseys with nicknames like the Squirrels taking on the Mambas (you think you know who was to win that one? Actually it ended in a draw…).
This year it is all totally different. On January 8, just a few days before the kick off of this year’s tournament in Angola, the Togo team bus was attacked by terrorists from an Angolan separatist guerilla group, with the bus driver, an assistant manager and a press officer killed and several players injured, including a goal keeper who was in critical condition for a few days (now luckily his situation stabilized reportedly).
The team decided to withdraw from the tournament.
Two days ago I saw a TV interview with Emmanuel Adebayor, the biggest star of the team. For those who never saw him: He is a man like a rock. 1m93 (6ft 3), extremely athletic, powerful, quick and skilled, I am sure some opponents are quite nervous when having to play against him. That fearless man, who played a major role in huge clubs like Arsenal or Manchester City looked like a picture of misery. He was still shocked and far from going back to the normal daily business from one day to the other.
He just said a few sentences in that interview and I don’t even fully recall what he said, but it was extremely touching to see him like this.
Football is not everything.
Your job is not everything.
I’ve met many people that would instantly agree and that tell you how important a work-life-balance would be. But many of these people spend 12 hours a day in the office.
Setting the personal priorities is probably the toughest challenge we all face, as it is about placing the right bets and juggling many interests, targets and desires. That’s why I don’t dare to give you any other recommendation but to take events like the Togo tragedy as a trigger to check if you feel you’re still happy with the track you’re on.