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Remembering Andrés Escobar -Colombia July 2 ’94

1 Leave a comment on verse 1 0 The World Cup in America, nineteen ninety four,
USA – Colombia, do you recall the score?
While over in the Rose Bowl, with fever running high,
back on the streets, of Medellin, it’s near to do or die.
Colombia were on a roll, the moment it was now,
their road would be to glory, to sweet success somehow.
I speak of Andrés Escobar, I shudder at his name,
the linchpin in a strong defence, and known throughout the game.

2 Leave a comment on verse 2 0 They called him ‘Caballero’, the football gentleman,
in soccer-crazy bars and homes, and right across the land.
In front of ninety thousand fans, Colombia / The States,
the stadium heaved to anthem songs, behind the long closed gates.
The minutes gone were thirty three , Colombia’s stubborn wall,
is broken by a hopeful cross, it looked like André’s ball.
But as he stretched to intercept, the ball spun fast away,
it clipped his boot and in the net, it landed on that day.
An own goal of extreme bad luck , the sorry deed was done,
and one that proved, to be his last – Columbia lost two-one.

3 Leave a comment on verse 3 0 Their World Cup dream now over, disaster in one game,
while friends stood by, a finger dark sought out the one to blame.
With Med’lin’s current murder rate some twenty odd a day,
his only ever World Cup goal would prove the price to pay.
Eliminated they returned, to jeers instead of praise
and Andres’ goal, cost him his life, within the next ten days .

4 Leave a comment on verse 4 0 July the first, a night club, where high up on a hill
they shot him like a dog that night, and Escobar lay killed.
Own goal, own goal, they shouted, as he sat in his car –
at point blank range, six times they fired, outside the Padua Bar.

5 Leave a comment on verse 5 0 On Medellin’s streets, they argue still, on such a way to go,
a hit man or a drunken rage, but we will never know.
A country rife with drugs and guns, so meaningless and sad
“How can there be,” his father cried, “.. some people quite so bad…..
that they could kill, my gentle son, that they, his life could take,
all for a moment in a game, all for one brief mistake. ”
And now while politicians and drug lords wine and dine,
the coke cartels and hit men come thick at any time.
Think then upon the price of life – the money and the dream,
those sexy football lifestyles aren’t always how they seem.
And on those dusty pitches on Sundays you can see
by breeze block slums with washing hung, the dream of breaking free.
And still they talk of that World Cup and of the fateful day
when Escobar stretched out too far against the USA.

2

Notes

Andrés Escobar(Columbia) March 13 1967- July 2 1994. RIP
I’ve re-installed this poem , which first appeared on Football Poets website in 2000 to coincide with the 24th anniversary of the passing of Andrés Escobar and the eve of the England/Colombia 2018 World Cup match.

It’s an emotional account of a terrible day for football and humanit., The poem was also published in the Mirror and alongside a great article by Ario entiltled “Just A Game” which I’ve re-printed below following the Wikipedia account of events.

Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga (13 March 1967 – 2 July 1994) was a Colombian footballer who played as a defender. He played for Atlético Nacional, BSC Young Boys, and the Colombia national team. Nicknamed The Gentleman, he was well-known for his clean style of play and calmness on the pitch.

Escobar was murdered in the aftermath of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, reportedly as retaliation for having scored an own goal which contributed to the team’s elimination from the tournament. His murder tarnished the image of the country internationally. Escobar himself had worked to promote a more positive image of Colombia, earning acclaim in the country. In 2013, then-coach Francisco Maturana denied that Escobar’s murder had any connection to football or the World Cup, but rather was due to his being “in the wrong place at the wrong time” at a violent time in Colombia’s history. Escobar is still held in high regard by Colombian fans, and is especially mourned and remembered by Atlético Nacional’s fans. Wikipedia.

“Just A Game” Ario.
Spare a tought for the victim of a mindless crime that occurred ten years ago. As you have realised, I’m talking about the murder of Andres Escobar.

Colombia were in excellent form before the World Cup. They met USA in a first round game at the Rose Bowl in California. When the scores were level at 1-1, Andres Escobar, the Colombian defender inadvertently put the ball into his own net to put USA ahead. A shock result which sent USA into the second round but Colombia out of the tournament.

All the blame was put onto Escobar but even if he hadn’t been there USA would have still scored.

Of course, everyone was to be disappointed but what happened next was inexcusable. Ten days later, back home in Medellin, the 27-year-old defender was shot 12 times in the chest, execution-style, by the bodyguard of an angry fan.

“Thanks for the goal!” he snarled, and shot him dead. All because of an own-goal.

The killer of Escobar, is serving a 42 year prison sentence but it hasn’t been totally dismissed the possibility that the slaying was ordered by Mafiosi who may have lost millions in bets as a result of Escobar’s error.

The death of one of Colombia’s most promising players certainly had an impact on the team. They never appeared as confident as before although officials deny that this is a fear of making a mistake which could see the player pay the ultimate price. Maybe the thought of what happened to Escobar is one of the reasons Colombia haven’t reached this years World Cup.

No-one ever wants to see this happen again. It puts football into context, people are passionate about the game but under no circumstances should results be more important than life.

A’Rio

Source: http://footballpoets.org/poems/remembering-andres-escobar-march-13-67-july-2-94/