Familiar football faces gathered on April 10 to play in the Partido por la paz to help generate attention for the peace process in Havana
The spotlight was on Diego Maradona – whose presence attracted both positive and negative attention – playing alongside big names such as Tino Asprilla, Freddy Rincón, Juan Pablo Ángel, Roberto Cabañas and a representative of the indigenous community. They were joined by a selection of other Colombian ex-footballers who played the match in Bogota’s El Techo stadium.
Maradona ended up scoring the winning goal, but the final score was a small detail as the bigger message came through loud and clear: this is only the start of sports as a tool in the peace process.
Piedad Córdoba – former Colombian senator and key mediator in the humanitarian accord between the government and the FARC – joined Maradona’s press conference the day before the match. It is high on her agenda to organise a match in Havana in which the FARC will participate alongside former national and international football players.
Mauricio ‘Chicho’ Serna, who was championing this plan back in 2013, together with Carlos ‘El Pibe’ Valderrama and Víctor Aristizábal, repeated this in the post-match press conference.
“This match in Havana is going to happen. We received a lot of threats on social media when we announced this idea and there are still obstacles on the way. But we see football as a great tool for helping the process towards peace and the support for this idea is growing,” Serna said.
While a date or clear time frame still has to be announced, we’ve definitely seen the kick-off, and there is still a full 90 minutes to come.
Photos: Ariel Donato
By Freek Huigen