Neo-colonialism, white supremacy and english and international football: I loved playing football in my pre-teens, couldn't play enough of it, morning, lunch and afternoon breaks at school was always a dash to the playground, quickly choosing teams, ripping up the knee area of my school trousers at least once a week (sorry Mum!). Drinking from the water fountains tired and thirsty. I played in the school team as goal keeper and sometimes defence. Sunday afternoons however were very depressing when watching league Football, less so FA cup.
While I loved Ian Rush and esp John Barnes, but the whole culture left me feeling alienated, feeling culturally outside of it all and was another contribution to the terribly lonely, alienated and 'othered' feeling I sub-conciously had ever since stepping onto the plane at nearly the age of 4 yrs old leaving the orange warm glow of the Homeland (Chandigarh, India).
However, when the world cup was on telly, it was a totally different experience, I got SO excited about the African and 'latin' American teams playing, I was mesmerised by the Brazilian football team's skills, Pele was a great hero of mine, his football skills were pure ballet-like poetry in confounding his opponents, and the whole team seemed to gracefully dance to victory after victory.
However, it was Maradona who brought the fire. I still remember my Mother and I watching the glorious 'hand of God' beat the dirty english team that was representing thatcher's neo-colonial offensive across the world and against Argentina and Las Malvinas (so-called 'falkland islands'). Maradona was our (GlobalSouth ppls) attack fighter, so many opposing team players would surround him terrified of his offensive skills, no matter, small, stocky, lightning Maradonna would find a way through and continue to attack. After all his problems Maradona today is a comrade of ours and of Chavez, Castro and all our fighters across the world against imperialism and for socialism.
Thank you Pele and Maradona for helping me understand I don't have to fit in under the neo-colonial assimilationist terror and oppression in the west, that we have a incomparably more beautiful global community who will with grace and sometimes with the 'hand of God' defeat the enemies of our peoples.
- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm