Hello! Welcome back to another weekly summary of sketching progress. This week was typically sporadic and entirely in my brown sketchbook as the white one is now complete. Here goes..
TOO COLD OUTSIDE
It was too cold to draw outside, so I sat inside and drew what was outside. Pretty chuffed with this effort – especially the effect of shading on the internal sash window. The lone spot of colour for the flowers adds some needed flavour to an otherwise mono-tone image.
I took this with the flash on as it illuminates the white lines made by the Posca pen. The beauty of small collage pages is that it doesn’t have to be complex / large / finished drawings. Simply look around and start sketching.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER CAFE
On Wednesday lunch, I officially went to Cafe Nero for the 1 squillionth time. If the staff don’t know me by now, they really aren’t observant. This was a bit of a longer perspective drawing, taking almost 40mins after munching on some dairy-free goodness.
DRAW WITHOUT LEAVING THE PAGE
Want a kill 20mins and get some drawing practice in?
Try this quick & fun exercise as suggested by a friend of mine. The base drawing [in pen and ink] was done without lifting the pen (although I did occasionally rest my hand and start exactly where I stopped). The biggest benefit was having less hairy lines, something that still needs to improve in my general drawing.
POST WORK WIND-DOWN
After work on Friday, I needed a quick 20min sit down to unwire my tangled mind. Sketching and good music are one way that help me achieving that. This was drawn as I sat in a Costa and watched people battle through the rain. Particularly chuffed with how the guy struggling with his umbrella came out – though he won’t appreciate it I’m sure)
OLE’S AT THE WHEEL
“Tell me, how good does it feel?”
Manchester United. Champions league quarter finalists.. Un-real!
My favourite sketch this week is a collage of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba. I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling ever since Wednesdays win at PSG.
Detailed faces are definitely not my strength and need more work, but I’m glad with how Rashford and Martial came out. Pogba, not so much lol.
There I was; About to start the most professionally run FIFA tournament I had ever been to.
Venue: Some dudes room at uni with two massive screens, a trophy & buckets upon buckets of KFC chicken. Ultimate lads night in! Between games, I was constantly refreshing my phone for live updates on Zambia’s opening match against Senegal at Afcon 2012.
Truth be told, I was confidently pessimistic that my beloved Zambia would retain their title of “Serial Underachievers!” In European football, I’d compare us to The Netherlands; Well respected, unexpected, but won’t win squat!
‘‘How soon till we’re out?’ I thought.
Add to this a hint of mild frustration at the draw we had and our potential routes to the final which would see us face all the big guns, if we so dared. All the negativity aside, I was quietly excited.
Zambia vs Senegal
To set the scene; Senegal were pre-tournament favourites along with Ghana and the Ivory Coast. In the absence of Egypt (who had won the three previous tournaments) and the Super Eagles of Nigeria, they saw this as their trophy.
At the time, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse (both prolific goalscorers at Newcastle United) alongside Moussa Sow were among the most feared partnerships on the continent. On paper, this game was over before it had ever began. However, Zambia took a quick & impressive 2-0 lead which lasted well into the second half when they conceded 1. In the end, they hung on for a rather unexpected but well deserved three points.
Full Time: Zambia 2-1 Senegal
Zambia vs Libya
Onto the next one and along came Libya. I was amazed to see the game still went ahead in such treacherous conditions. Historically, Zambia have struggled against North African opposition. As a child, the name Hossam Hassan or Mohamed Aboutrika (both of Egypt) sent shivers down my spine.
In the end, Zambia fought hard in the conditions and came from behind twice to earn a brilliant point.
Full Time: Zambia 2-2 Libya
Zambia vs Equatorial Guinea
With charismatic French coach Herve Renard at the helm, Zambia headed into their final group match against joint hosts Eq. Guinea. This was a chance to win the group.
I was only 1 when it happened, but grew up in the aftermath of the event with the massive re-building job in the 90’s. The effects on the country were strong and the passion and emotion connected to football was understandably prominent.
Going into this game, my fear was that the emotion of the event and the dreaded home advantage would kill our momentum. Besides, I had grown up with years of Zambia almost doing something big, but eventually settling for disappointment (hence the earlier pessimism).
The game itself was tough against the tournament debutants, but in the end a lone goal from captain Christopher Katongo settled the matter. This result meant we finished top of Group A and avoided the other tournament favourites, Ivory Coast.
Full Time: Zambia 1-0 Equatorial Guinea
Zambia vs Sudan
It was straight knockout from here on. You lose, you leave!
We were pitted against the Sudanese ‘Falcons of Jediane.’ With Zambia’s ‘Copper Bullets’ firepower proving too much in the end, it was the end of another team with an animal nickname – cue all the memes about poaching. In truth, it was a fairly comfortable / convincing 3-0 win. In my lifetime, I had never seen Zambia in the semi-finals of such a huge tournament and I was too young to remember our run to the final in 1994 which ended in defeat to Nigeria. But now, the toughest test lay ahead.
Full Time: Zambia 3-0 Sudan
Zambia vs Ghana
Wow! This was it. The end of the road.. surely!
4 years earlier, I watched helplessly from the stands as Ghana systematically destroyed Zambia 4-1 in a friendly at Leyton Orient’s ground, London.
On that occasion, they had Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari & Stephen Appiah to name a few legends of the African game. This time round, they still had Muntari, along with rising stars Asamoah Gyan, Andre and Jordan Ayew. I considered them the Germany of African football – Efficient, consistent and always making it to the semi finals. Just 2 years earlier, they were on the brink of making history by becoming African’s first ever World Cup Semi-Finalists – but were denied bythe hand of Luis Suarez and the foot of Asamoah Gyan. Their form had hardly dipped in the intermediate time, so this was going to be an uphill battle.
But low and behold, little Zambia [who stood NO chance – if you listened to the self-acclaimed ‘football experts’] did the impossible. Emmanuel Mayuka with the faint, followed by the perfect curling shot inside the post sent every Zambian momentarily off the planet in celebration. Wowzer!
I remember being in the minority of people celebrating that goal in the students union on campus – along with my legendary Welsh housemate and a few Nigerian fans (you know how they get on with Ghana! lol). One more win away from History!
Zambia had previously built a squad capable of beating a near full-strength Italian team 4-0 at the 1988 Olympics. But in 1993, that golden generation had been stripped away in the most abrupt and tragic of circumstances. This win was about more than just football. A nation had been brought to her knees in mourning, but now it was time to rise up and honour those who died.
Full Time: Zambia 1-0 Ghana
Zambia vs Ivory Coast
Now for the big one. The cherry on the cake.
The undeniable favourites, highest ranked team at the time, highest profile players from the best leagues in the world – meet the Ivory Coast (aka The Elephants). Even if our ‘Copper Bullets’ (aka. Chipolopolo) would strike against this lot, it would take a lot to bring these giants down.
If the semi final was a test against the most efficient and consistent team, this was a test against the absolute best in their prime.
With Didier Drogba (Chelsea) the charismatic talisman, Yaya & Kolo Toure (Manchester City), Gervinho (Arsenal) & Salomon Kalou (Chelsea) among many star names, this wasn’t just an uphill battle, but an impossible task.
I could literally go on naming players that were important members of league winning sides in top European teams. If this game was played on paper, no way did we stand a chance. Even my faint optimism at this point didn’t give me any hope.
The game itself surprised me as Zambia started off at flying speed creating many chances throughout. Didier Drogba missed a penalty during the 90 mins and the game went into extra time and then penalties at 0-0.
The most superb, intense, and gripping shootout I have ever seen – not just because it was my team involved, but everyone scored. With the score at 7-7 in sudden death, Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast/Chelsea) missed giving Zambia the chance to win it. Unfortunately, Rainford Kalaba (Zambia/TP Mazembe) did likewise and we were back to square one. This was never going to end. Then Gervinho (Ivory Coast/Arsenal) sent the ball out of the stadium with his shot (slight exaggeration, but it looked that way) giving Zambia another chance to seal the deal.
Up stepped a confident young man, Stopilla Sunzu – Already a Zambian legend no matter the outcome, singing along to the song the Zambian players had been singing throughout the shootout. A song in that moment that embodied the spirit of the team that had carried them from the bleak ashes of tragedy to the very brink of victory. As the late-great football commentator Dennis Liwewe poignantly put it; “never again will we go to Gabon and return without dignity and honour.”
Sunzu duly dispatched his penalty with ease, sending the keeper the wrong way and a nation into rapture.
Why do I love football so much, I hear you ask? For moments like these. From tragedy to triumph.
Growing up in a family and community that was football crazy, its only natural that its become one of my passions in life – playing it, watching it, even talking about it. I remember goals from years ago, who scored them and on occasions the day they happened (#sadIknow). As the years have gone by, however, my connection to the beautiful game has somewhat changed. If you knew me back at school, you’d probably know when my team Man United lost as it would sometimes affect my day or even week. And a win? Well, that meant a week of ecstasy (excitement that is, just to clarify :P). It’s this emotional connection that a lot of us [guys predominantly] place on football or sport in general that got me thinking.
Whether its shouting at a team mate, the tele or each other, football is the one thing I know that can bring out a persons true colours without them even realising it (myself included).
About 2 years ago, I was part of a 6-a-side team with my friends and housemates from uni. Our team (Unreal Madrid) had an incredible season which included a 10 game winning streak at the start. We eventually finished second, just 2 points off top spot. In the first game against the eventual champions, there was a guy that was quite aggressive in his approach, attitude and language (which was very colourful). He was constantly arguing with the referee and his team mates, committing unnecessary fouls etc. It all boiled over when we beat them 2-1 and he un-sportingly (and rather blatantly) ignored each one of my team mates offer for a handshake. Now, I don’t know that guy and that could have just been a spur of the moment reaction. But a lot of us can probably relate to a time when we’ve been so emotionally attached to a game that it almost feels like an outer body experience – our inner person momentarily takes over and we can almost justify going out of control. I remember being on my knees and going crazy when my country (Zambia) beat the favourites (Ivory Coast) in the Africa Cup of Nations final 2012. Unreal indeed!! But where did all that emotion come from?
US musician Ason writes about a woman’s effect on a man and says this:
“She’ll make a grown man cry like a baby at birth, make him take all his earned and make him waste all his worth.” (Song: Walk Upright, by Ason)
You could almost directly apply this sentiment to sport. But how can something that is ultimately designed to be exercise and harmless fun rule over us? We always go on about how footballers on the screen should have better attitudes on and off the pitch yet we follow suit when put in the same situations.
I remember once hearing a preacher say he is worried about how much more emotional and enthusiastic men in the church are about football than about God.
Sport is one of the best ways to physically unwind from stress, so don’t lose your passion, enthusiasm or enjoyment of it. Enjoy the moment, push yourself and have fun with others! But don’t let it rule over you so much that you sit depressed at school or work because your team lost. I pray that you’ll be challenged and encouraged in some way as you engage with sport this week.
Abstract: Short poem about the Zambia national football team (aka Chipolopolo or Copper Bullets). In the build up to the Africa Cup of Nations 2015, I reflect on Zambia’s astonishing and historic victory at the 2012 edition of the tournament. Could it happen again?
We sat crouched! Fingers crossed, hearts pounding,
Awaiting the result that would leave them all astounded.
A young man steps up to lay stake among the greats,
Sunzu his name, one kick and then we celebrate.
“The elephants”, they called them, as a sign of their power,
Yet they seemed to falter at their supposed ‘divine hour.’
Not a chance was given against such opposition,
Yet if they lose now they’ll be a mass inquisition.
One step, two step, three step, BOOM!
A sharp piercing silence suddenly fills the room.
The weight of this moment precedes grown men’s cries,
As we remember our dearly loved brothers who died.
Years before they chased the same final destination,
Only to have their lives cut short like abbreviations.
KK11 we remember you still today,
May your spirit of ambition spur us on as we play.
So many greats have risen since your sad and sudden fate,
Kalusha, Tana, Lota, among many candidates.
But none awarded the privilege to lift the great cup,
Till the lads of 2012, an unlikely make-up.
Woohoo! We did it! Come and have a look,
Though all the doubters still claim it was only but a fluke.