Finally, the wait is over!! The world has waited 4 years, but now we are ready for the biggest tournament in football – THE FIFA WORLD CUP (screams and does a happy dance). I know not everyone is a football fan, but hey I am pretty sure deep down in your heart of hearts you low-key have a soft spot for a certain team. This year’s tournament will be held in Russia, with 32 teams from across the world battling it out to be crowned the champions of the world. One month of epic blood rushing entertainment, not forgetting the passionate fans all over the world.

Besides the ankle breaking skills and the chants from the fans, there are some life lessons we can actually learn from the FIFA World Cup; and in this article we will look at some of those and how they relate to us as prospective or existing International Students in Malaysia.

1. Team Work

Football is a team sport. Whilst teams have superstars like Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba, Salah, etc – these superstars cannot win the world cup without a team. They say “team work makes the dream work.” As you are embarking on your studies you have to understand that there is no “I” in team.

I am pretty sure along the duration of your course you will have some group assignments. Yeah I know they suck sometimes, especially when you feel like you are carrying the whole group on your shoulders. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In order to make the group work easier, identify each member’s strengths and weaknesses. In a World Cup team not everyone is a goalkeeper or striker; players are assigned positions based on their strengths. You surely cannot expect to find Rashford in goal for England. You need to learn to be a team player.

Inasmuch as we all know the rivalries in the English Premier League or Spanish La Liga; when it comes to national duty these player put aside their differences at club level and focus on one common goal – to win the golden cup. When it comes to group work you need to disregard the differences in background, nationality, and just unite to achieve the prize (a distinction).

Each team at this year’s FIFA World Cup is aiming to leave the tournament as the winning team. But to achieve that, all individuals in the team need to put in the best in their respective positions. As you work in your group assignment, play your position to perfection. Strive to excel in the tasks assigned to you. Remember relying on one team member’s abilities is not a winning strategy. The whole group needs to give their all in order to achieve that distinction.

2. Don’t be intimidated

There are 2 surprise teams to qualify for this year’s world cup: Iceland and Panama. Iceland has a population of just 338,000 which makes them the smallest country ever to qualify for the World Cup. The city of Moscow which is Russia’s capital has a population which is about 37 times greater than the whole country of Iceland (drops jaw). Panama is making their debut on the World Cup stage this year. Panama was not even amongst the favourites from Central America to qualify for the World Cup.

When you look at these statistics you can’t help but wonder how these two teams will stand with the rest of the big teams. For these 2 teams to qualify for the World Cup it means they overcame other great teams along the way. If you want to excel in your studies you need to have a winning mentality. Don’t let the big jargons and equations scare you. Tackle every assignment and examination with a winning mentality. If these 2 teams see themselves as inferior to the rest of the teams, then they will not progress beyond the group stage. Motivate yourself even when the odds are against you. Believe in your talent, skill, and excellence. Remember in 2016 Iceland knocked out England from the Euro tournament. Let your previous success serve as a reminder that you can conquer your current challenges. You are a winner!!!

3. Set goals and strategize

Every team at the FIFA World cup is after the golden trophy, and in order to get it the coach needs to set a formation and the team needs to score goals. The goal for every team is to be crowned the Kings of world football. As you pursue your studies determine what your goal is. What do you want to achieve this semester, year, etc? Once you have done that you need to set a formation, by listing down how you plan to achieve the set goals. Keep in mind that “a goal without a plan is just a wish”.

4. Be your dreams’ goalkeeper and defender

The job of the defenders and the goalkeepers is to prevent the opponent from scoring. You my friend need to block things or people that try to hinder you from achieving your dream. Block the discouraging people (No bad vibes bro!) and the fears that threaten your dream from becoming a reality.

5. Be flexible to change

Depending on the score-line or the individual performances, the coach can make changes to the squad or formation during the game. The coach can substitute a striker for a defender, depending on the situation. The same thing will happen in life as you will encounter different challenges and obstacles which will force you to change some plans and arrangements. As you make the changes never lose sight of your destination (goals and dreams).

6. Press on till the final whistle

Goals matter most at the end of the match. It doesn’t matter how much ball possession or goal attempts the opponent had. What matters at the end of the game is the score-line. I have seen teams with a 3 or 4 goal lead losing the upper-hand and conceding more goals to either draw or lose the game. Don’t become so complacent and comfortable. Keep pressing and attempting. In life what matters at the end of it all is the success. Don’t lose heart or confidence if you fail one subject. One loss is not the end of the tournament, unless it’s the knockout stage. If you fall down this semester, get back up and strive to do better next semester. As long as you haven’t completed your course, you have a chance to turn the game and improve your CGPA.

7. Great things take time

The World Cup is played every 4 years, which means that teams need to train; make adjustments; and play in the qualifying rounds. Believe me it’s not as easy as it looks. It takes years of hard work and perseverance to qualify for the World Cup. Great things in life take a lot of hard work, dedication, and a little time. You don’t just wake up being a holder of a Diploma, Degree, Masters’, or PhD – you have to go through a process for a specific period of time. During this period you need to stay determined until you qualify to wear that graduation gown and are capped as a holder of the course level you are studying for.

8. Adapt to the changes

Most of the countries at the FIFA World Cup are coming from places where the weather, food, and atmosphere are entirely different to what they will experience in Russia. Some will get a culture shock, whilst others will settle in pretty well. In order to survive this one month of the tournament, both players and travelling fans will have to adapt to the changes. The change in weather conditions will have an impact on the performance of the players, but I believe they will not let this deter them from pursuing the main goal – to win the World Cup.

As an international student arriving in Malaysia for the first time, it might be a challenge trying to adapt to the change in weather, different time zone, food, etc. You will find yourself running all over the place trying to settle in, or for some curled up on their beds missing home. As you arrive in Malaysia try to get familiar with your surroundings, learn a bit of the language, and definitely try out the food. Take each day as it comes and you will find that as time goes by you will start to settle in pretty well. Don’t let the changes affect you that much. Focus on the main reason you have travelled to Malaysia – to conquer your studies. If you have health concerns, be prepared well in advance and bring your medication with you. The most important thing though is to make friends as soon as you can, so as to kill the boredom and loneliness.

As the world prepares for one of the greatest tournaments in sport, I challenge you to take some lessons from the games and the tournament as a whole. May the best team win (my team of and may you find success in your studies and make your stay in Malaysia a memorable one. Remember, in all that you do “YOU ARE A CHAMPION!!” Only you can determine how far you will go in this tournament which is your academic studies.

Leave your comments below with your predictions of who will be crowned the winner of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

  1. Marcus Lingz 6 years ago

    Whoever wrote this is a genius. Amazing creative writing. Bravo 👏👏

  2. Hamzh 6 years ago

    Inspiring article

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