The Ghana international is hitting another rough patch in his
career and, this time, can’t blame anyone but himself should it all go
terribly south again
Men do change, don’t they?
When Abdul Majeed Waris first burst onto the scene few years back,
scoring goals for fun with Swedish outfit BK Hacken, he seemed an
altogether refreshing prospect. The goals were an attraction alright,
but there was something else.
In an era when Black Stars players were beginning to prove a wholesale
nuisance with their jumbo-sized egos and accompanying crap, Waris had
a sweet, charming halo that stood him out. It was something about his
mien, a certain je ne sais quoi, which suggested the boy from Tamale
might just turn out one of the good ones.
Humble, ambitious, talented and willing — really, what wasn’t there to like?
In the years that followed, Waris’ goals have dried up, courtesy a
number of transfers that haven’t always been successful due to varying
factors, mostly beyond his control. When his career finally semed to
have found some stability — after brief stints in Russia, France and
Turkey — at French Ligue 1 side Lorient, Waris’ many well-wishers
prayed the jolly moments would return for the 24-year-old.
Since joining Les Merlus in August last year, he’s scored only four
times in 13 league starts, outshone in the process by more prolific
fellow summer arrival Benjamin Moukandjo. It’s really not because
Waris is any worse footballer, though; he’s simply changed as a man,
and not for the better.
Late last year, Waris went surprisingly bonkers for a man with his
temperament in reaction to a tackle by Jimmy Briand when Lorient
battled Guingamp. Briand’s play was admittedly dangerous, while the
decision of the referee to overlook it could be deemed just as bad,
but Waris’ response — a red card-meriting kung-fu kick that makes
Eric Cantona’s 21-year-old precedent look amateurish (followed by a
kicking of water bottles on his way out) and which earned the Ghanaian
a six-game ban — was wholly, thoroughly unjustifiable. Look it up on
YouTube, reader, and you’d concur just how surreal the incident was.
Heck, even he (Waris) felt it wasn’t ‘him’ at work.
“What happened on Saturday is strange, crazy,” a contrite Waris told
Ouest France afterwards. “This is the first time in my life that I
have got angry like that, on the pitch or off it. I still wonder how I
could respond like that, although there were causes.”
You’d think that was an isolated misdemeanor, and Waris’ later show of
remorse genuine, but neither may have been true after all, given a
more recent show of unwarranted aggression and petulance. On being
substituted halfway into the 1-1 draw with Montpelier last weekend, an
irate Waris stormed past Lorient’s bench into the dressing room, much
to the disgust of Sylvain Ripoll, his manager.
It’s the reason why Waris wasn’t included in Lorient’s matchday squad
for Saturday’s trip to Nantes, as well as for the Coupe de France
Round of 16 tie with Sarre-Union earlier in the week. Even worse, he’s
been demoted to life with the club’s B team, the exact length of which
does appear to depend on how soon he mends his fresh rift with Ripoll.
The success of Waris’ career in the long-term, however, would call for
much more: a sincere and lasting cleansing of a heart that once seemed
so pure and endearing but which doesn’t quite appeal anymore.
Here’s a glass of water, bro; take a chill pill.