Like Schmeichel cried for Kasper, Sonia cried for Iniesta


Citizen Radio/Digital chief football reporter Jacob Icia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. (PHOTO/...
Citizen Radio/Digital chief football reporter Jacob Icia at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. (PHOTO/Jedida)

In Summary

  • When a match ends and someone is crying as if they lost a loved one, the usual assumption is they are simply hurting from the pain of defeat
  • Here in Moscow, yours truly has found himself in situations where he sympathy for a hurting soul overcomes the primary role, and gives a shoulder to lean on when there is no other way about it

Jacob Icia Moscow Chronicles 

When a match ends and someone is crying as if they lost a loved one, the constant assumption is they are simply hurting from the pain of defeat.

Here in Moscow, yours truly has found himself in situations where he sympathy for a hurting soul overcomes the primary role, and gives a shoulder to lean on when there is no other way about it.

Such was the situation after Egypt lost at the death, 1-0 to Uruguay in their opener, a late goal that left a seemingly middle-aged man crying uncontrollably.

I rushed to him with my tools of work ready to ask him why it was so painful, but I ended up tapping his shoulder telling him take it, reminding it was just a game.

Special attachments

That incidence reminded me of journalism ethical dilemmas I studied many years back in college. According to my Media Law and Ethics lecturer then, there is no outright standard answer to how a journalist should behave when some events that draw his attention beyond his primary duty occur.

You just have to decide fast, between being a human being and being a journalist. Nevertheless, some of the football fans hurting have special attachments to specific players, coaches or events that they cry over when teams lose.

After the unexpected 2010 champions – Spain exit in the hands of hosts Russia on July 1, I met Maria Sonia outside the Luzhiniki Stadium.

It was raining, so fans who could not bear the rain sought cover in the nearby restaurants, especially the hurting Spain supporters.

So Sonia was such, but could not hold her tears watching Russians braving the rains in the phenomenal victory delirium.

Watching her for over five minutes, sobbing and sobbing, I decided to talk to her. At least she could communicate in English, and the first word she uttered was Iniesta.

Iniesta? What about Iniesta?

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - Round of 16 - Spain vs Russia - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - July 1, 2018 Spain's Andres Iniesta looks dejected after losing the penalty shootout REUTERS/Carl Recine/File Photo

“…We love him so much. He has done a lot for Spain. He has our hero at Barcelona (his immediate former club). He deserved a more honorable tournament. He told us he would win for Spain and retire but it was not to be…,” emotionally spoke the lady after gathering her thoughts together.

The interest was how, where, did Iniesta tell ‘them’ about winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup and retire?

According to Sonia, Iniesta was so keen on winning in what would be his last international duty for Spain, as the Vissel Kobe player would reveal hours later after the match.

Her close friends, she said, close to the back to back Euro winner had confided to her he would retire but wanted to win the World Cup before quitting.

The feeling of a special player losing, rather than a team became clearer when former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was shown reacting enthusiastically as his son Kasper Shemeichel stopped three penalties against Croatia, only to bid goodbye the Russia fiesta after the donkey work.

Denmark had to bow to Croatia, and Schemeichel senior posted: “Lost for words. Can’t be more proud of my country, my son, his teammates, all the staff and our fantastic national coach Åge Hareide. When all the tears have dried out we will realise how well we did.”

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