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Book tells football players’ struggle for justice and democracy



São Paulo – The Brazilian Socrates, the Algerian Rachid Mekhlouf, the French Lilian Thurram and Eric Cantona, and the Chilean Carlos Caszely, in addition to being great football players, have a career and life marked by another characteristic in common: the fight for democracy. The engagement of these and other athletes is the theme of the book Democracia Futból Club (Editora Ludopédio), by the journalist and researcher Roberto Jardim.

Like the lineup of a team of “starters”, the author has climbed stories of 11 players and a coach. However, the formation of the cast did not appreciate the technical criterion, but the relevance of these characters outside the four lines. Thus, Roberto Jardim “sends the field” Claudio Tamburrini, Agustín Lucas, Lilian Thurram, Pedro Graffigna, Afonsinho, Obdulio Varela, Carlos Caszely, Socrates, Eric Cantona, Reinaldo and Rachid Mekhloufi. With the clipboard, José Ricardo de León.

Most of the profiles in the book lived during a dictatorship, like Tamburrini (Argentina) and the coach, Ricardo de León (Uruguay). The author states that the political context, added to birth and childhood, lived in their respective communities, helped in the politicization of these athletes.

“There was a player who changed his position over time, like Reinaldo. But you take Afonsinho, for example, who was the son of a railway unionist. Obdulio Varela was a newsboy, lived on the street and absorbed it for life. Most have a history behind it and help with political education, ”he explained.

Turn left

The book tells the story of two football icons and the Uruguayan resistance to democracy: De León and midfielder Pedro Graffigna. Both defended the violet color of the Defensor, club of the capital, Montevideo, in 1976, in full force of the dictatorial regime of General Antonio Francese – first president after the Uruguayan civil-military coup of 1973.

De León was a public school teacher and affiliated with the communist party. In his career, he refused to train the Uruguayan team, which imposed its political silence as a counterpart. Graffigna, on the other hand, was a leftist militant and was one of the Defender’s symbols on the pitch.

In 1976, the violet team was Uruguayan champion and broke the hegemony of Nacional and Peñarol, becoming the first small club to win the national tournament. The players marked the victorious campaign by the gesture of clenching their fists with each goal scored.

The cast, politically engaged and opposed to the dictatorship, decided to make the last protest in the match to celebrate the title, with an Olympic turn “in reverse”, that is, on the left.

Book against the trajectory of 11 players and a politically engaged football coach

“It was a strong group, linked to the left, so much so that striker Luis Cubillas was the only exception. On the eve of the last game, De León said that it was necessary to create a different celebration for that occasion, when no one could demonstrate in the country, and the Olympic round on the left took place ”, reports the author.

Brazilian resistance

During the Brazilian civil-military dictatorship, between 1964 and 1985, there were also players who faced authoritarianism and fought for the redemocratization of the country. As an example of political resistance on national lawns, the book profiles the idols Reinaldo, from Atlético Mineiro), Sócrates, one of the leaders of the historic “democracy of Corinthians”, and the botafoguense Afonsinho.

In addition to his goals, in the 1970s, Reinaldo’s fight also marked his career: with each ball in the net, the Atlético Mineiro player raised his clenched right fist and stretched his left arm close to his body. In addition to representing resistance to the dictatorship, the gesture was a tribute to the North American black movement Panteras Negras. After leaving football, the striker continued his fight for democracy. He was elected state deputy by the Workers’ Party and Belo Horizonte city councilor by the Green Party.

“He decided to take a political position in the fields and was under pressure from then President Ernesto Geisel. At the 1978 World Cup, he scores a goal, makes the gesture and, in the next game, he was removed from the team. Reinaldo still suffered boycotts, news spread that he was gay and that took him out of the 1982 World Cup too, for example ”, reports the journalist.

Rio de Janeiro’s Afonso Celso Garcia Reis, Afonsinho, in addition to being a player, was a student at the Rio de Janeiro School of Medicine and Surgery and was a member of the student movement. The double journey paid no praise, on the contrary. “They told him that football is for players and not students,” says Jardim.

Between the finals of the Carioca Championship and the Brazil Cup of 1968, Afonsinho helped organize protests and participated in the also historic Passeata dos 100 Mil, a popular demonstration against the authoritarian regime. “In 1972, Pelé said that Afonsinho was the first free man in Brazilian football,” adds the journalist.

Giants off the field

Two other great stories of football players who fought for democracy are in the book. Among them, that of goalkeeper Claudio Tamburrini, who did not leave a great legacy on the field, but outside of it. The Argentine only served two years in professional football, when his career was suspended in 1977, after being arrested at home by the military.

At that time, Argentina was going through a period of rigorous military dictatorship, which began in 1976, when a coup d’etat deposed then-president María Estela Martínez de Perón, known as Isabelita Perón. The Junta Militar assumed power and then General Jorge Rafael Videla was appointed to preside over the country.

Tamburrini was never linked to the resistance movements that followed the coup, but his record as a student activist resulted in a 120-day prison term. “Claudio would enter the book even if there were another more renowned goalkeeper, because he was a victim of the dictatorship, which interrupted his dream. He was tortured, managed to escape from prison and survived. It is something rare at the time. He was still a few months underground in Argentina, before taking exile in Sweden ”, says the journalist.

Another star who also starred in a fight for democracy is the Algerian Rachid Mekhloufi. In the 1950s, Algeria was a French colony. For this reason, Mekhloufi defended the colors of France.

A playmaker for the Saint-Étienne team, Rachid refused to comply with the call to play in the 1958 World Cup for France. Instead, he preferred to play football in the name of Algeria’s liberation and democracy. However, after his country’s independence in 1962, he returned to football to delight French fans.

“He would play the 1958 World Cup and, on the eve of the tournament, the Algerian players asked him to participate for the National Liberation Front selection, and he joined. This team traveled to several countries to gather funds and finance the fight, through football. Therefore, he gave up the World Cup to spend four years fighting for independence ”, explains Jardim.

The impact of the National Liberation Front was immediate. The players denounced the size of the war that France and Algeria waged. The Algerian stars refused to play for the metropolis and began to defend their colony. Mekhloufi, in particular, had become one of the most important “soldiers” of the revolution, but without having picked up a weapon.

In his blog, the author comments: “It would hardly be possible to find such a selection (of politically conscious players and activists) at the present time. After all, marketing contracts have practically made football a no-brainer, politically speaking – that’s because the powerful ones who determine “neutrality” don’t see it as a political gesture, either. Today, the boleiros only speak out about football or its sponsors, leaving aside any topic that could create controversy for those who support them – with very few exceptions, of course. ”

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Union denounces the death of 20 teachers by covid-19 after back to school in SP




São Paulo – The Union of Teachers of Official Education of the State of São Paulo (Apeoesp) held a demonstration today (4) denouncing the death of at least 20 teachers by covid-19 since the beginning of the return to school in the state of São Paulo Paulo. The entity also accounts for 1,861 confirmed cases of covid-19 in 850 schools. The protest took place in front of the State Department of Education of the government of João Doria (PSDB), after a motorcade through the streets of the capital of São Paulo. In addition to honoring these teachers, the act also called for an immediate suspension of classes until the new coronavirus pandemic is controlled in the state.

The demonstration began in the Masp free space, on Avenida Paulista. From there, the teachers went to the State Department of Education, at Praça da República. “It is unacceptable what the Doria government has been doing with teachers. Without closing schools, keeping thousands of teachers and staff and millions of students circulating every day, many in public transport, Doria and her Education Secretary reveal themselves as they are: enemies of life ”, said the president of Apeoesp and state deputy, Professor Bebel.

The Doria government has not released records of confirmed and suspected covid-19 cases in schools for two weeks. Much less if there was a death by covid-19 of teachers, students or other education workers. In the only balance sheet released on February 16, there were 741 confirmed cases and 1,133 suspected cases.


Although it claims that back to school amid the covid-19 pandemic is safe, the Doria government has restricted access to the Education Information and Monitoring System for Covid-19. With that, the governor leaves the assessment of the resumption of activities without any transparency. Only one server from each school can be registered and access the system, both to notify suspected or confirmed cases of the disease at school, and to monitor the general situation of the pandemic in the public school system.

The Secretary of State for Health of São Paulo, Jean Gorinchteyn, defended, on Tuesday (2), the closure of schools across the state due to the worsening of the pandemic of covid-19. He admitted that the increase in the circulation of people promoted by the return to school has contributed to the worsening of the transmission of the new coronavirus in recent weeks, as teachers and health experts have always said it would happen. Today, São Paulo has 17,802, with 9,910 in the ward and 7,892 in the ICU, the largest number in the entire pandemic.

“If we understand that people are threatened
against the virus, against the collapse (of the health system), we have to reevaluate
situations that could be avoided. One of them is the situation of the school. THE
The problem is not the school, but the movement of people. Teachers, students, parents
who take and bring their children. Even in public transport, the exposure that the
we end up putting people. At this point, it is worth noting that this
question of not having classes, ”said Gorinchteyn, in an interview with CBN radio.


In addition to the case records and the denunciation of the death of these teachers by covid-19, Apeoesp also highlights data from the Hospital do Servidor Público Estadual (HSPE) that shows the exhaustion of intensive care units (ICU) after returning to school. According to the internal bulletin of the HSPE, on Monday (1), the ICU occupancy for patients with covid-19 in the hospital is 95%. In wards, the occupation is 73%.

Yesterday, Doria announced that the entire state will enter the red quarantine phase for two weeks, starting on Saturday (6), due to the worsening of the covid-19 pandemic in São Paulo. However, he decided to keep the schools open. “Despite the restriction measures, state schools will continue to open their doors at the worst moment of the pandemic”, criticized Bebel, who guaranteed the continuation of the teachers’ strike, which started on February 8.

Teachers killed by covid-19 in São Paulo, according to a survey by Apeoesp:

Maria Inês Silva Frozel
Eda Balle Pulpato
Antonio Cesar Pereira
Cinthia Aparecida
Rodrigo Andrade
Regina Aparecida dos Santos Tomaz
Maria Soeiro
Maria Tereza Miguel Couto
Marcelo Shiroma
Antonio Cesar Pereira
Antônio Cesar Zenetti
Adriano Moraes
Ana Clara Macedo dos Santos
Paulo Henrique Camargo
Deolinda Scotti
Amauri Nicoletti
Guilherme Augusto de Oliveira Rebello
Luciani Andrade Serrão
Eliana Ferreira Boni
Luiz Roberto Oliveira

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