Maradona vs Kadyrov: A football match to make the soul vomit

Musa Okwonga
maradona 271x300 Maradona vs Kadyrov: A football match to make the soul vomit

Diego Maradona and Luis Figo line up for the match in Grozny

It’s one of those things that makes you wish that you were a wolf, so that you could tear off your clothes, throw yourself down on your haunches and howl in agony towards the moon.  It makes you look at the keyboard into which you’re thudding angry verbs and nouns and makes you ponder how you ever got involved in this industry, how you ever had the misfortune to be in this sport’s thrall.  It makes you furious that this is how the game works, that the world works, that people are diverted by utter shams such as these.

At least, that’s how it makes me feel.  When I saw that Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen strongman, had organised a football match between his select side and a World XI including Diego Maradona, Luis Figo and friends, there was a violent, surging sensation in the base of my gut, which I now acknowledge to be the precise moment when my soul vomited.  Kadyrov, on very good authority, is a man whose leadership of his country brooks little opposition, his methods of oppression so effective that they have attracted the thorough attention of human rights campaigners, one of whom is sadly no longer with us.  Kadyrov knows well the value of a PR opportunity.  As he proved in a previous game against Brazilhigh-profile football matches have the pleasing effect of adding a benign sheen to a regime, and he is fortunate to have so many willing to be complicit in his scheme.

Several things about the match remain unclear.  We don’t know, for example, whether much money passed hands for the players’ participation.  We can be charitable and assume that they played for free, for the love of the beautiful game, et cetera, and that many thousands did not flow into their pockets for their participation.  We can also look at the scoreline, a 5-2 defeat of the World XI, and assume that the rotund Chechen leader’s exceptional pace and perceptive passing, allied with the World XI’s use of a fatally high defensive line, allowed him to wreak decisive havoc amongst a defence including Franco Baresi.  We know nothing for certain, save this.  We can be absolutely certain that, when Kadyrov’s side claimed their glorious victory, we would not have found human rights organisations screaming their approval from the stands.

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  • BalqisDeCesare

    Why don’t you ask to the people of Chechnya if really Ramzan Kadyrov is as bad as those human rights organisations claim ? Why don’t you check who funds those organisations ? People in the stadium were happy because they are tired of war and terrorism . Chechnya needs attention and investments to come back to life and that is what Ramzan and the chechen government are doing . It is easy to write a couple of insults against Kadyrov from your desk . If I had to use your same schemes, I’d say you are just trying to please the owner of your newspaper . But I won’t, cause I am better than that, thanks God .

  • dourscot

    Whatever next? An evening of all-star five aside hosted by North Korea’s Kim Jong il?

  • Anzor

    BALQIS DC I fully agree with you. The people of Chechnya are tired of war and these celebrations are very good for children that grew up through that war. Thanks to Ramzan Kadyrov Chechnya is becoming better.

  • Adil Jadoon

    People are sick of war and terrorism but are happy to watch a murderer play football  and waste money while his people are starving and desolate. Only supporters or shall I say beneficieries of the regime can see this as being particularly positive. 

  • BalqisDeCesare

    says who he is a murderer ? he fought a war same as we westerners are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan What are your sources ? those human rights organisations and think tanks based in America funded by  people who are trying to destabilise the caucasus and the kremlin ? very easy Try to get your facts straight from people who live there and who can offer a different perspective Of course life is not perfect there and he might not have everything under control but he is doing his best to rebuild the economy and bring back country to normality A murderer at the white house is easier to digest ? 

  • Miki Pohl

    Kadyrov is a rapist, a kidnapper, and a murderer. His Kadyrovtsy ran torture camps, took hundreds of people hostage, chased and painted girls in the streets (Soltaeva case). He likes to watch sex in saunas and is on video manhandling people there. The people who tried to run in elections against his father or him were stabbed, bombed, shot at and left Chechnya in disgust. The Chechens “voted” 98% in favor of Putin in 2004. Great guy, that Kadyrov. Keep on admiring him. Diego Maradona is a fool, in the same class as Mike Tyson, to have his reputation stained by contact with this government.

  • Miki Pohl

    I have asked, they don’t like him, they FEAR him. Anna Politkovskaya said it best, Anzor and Balquis: None can humiliate themselves in front of Kadyrov like the Chechens can. Have a look in the mirror.

  • BalqisDeCesare

    then we spoke with different people because there are many in Chechnya who have no problem with him and others who migrated outside who have never been contacted by his emissaries with threats as reported by some media
    Anna Politkovskaya  was a political activist on her personal war against Putin and consequently against Kadyrov I am on the people side I am not saying everything is perfect in Chechnya and of course also Ramzan has his share of responsibility, but now building around him the role of the dictator same as we did for Mubarak and friends at the end of 30 years in which our governments were supporting them, just because it serves our own purposes, thats just unfair

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