Johan Cruyff: How Can You Play Soccer Next to a Torture Center?


JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Source:  TeleSUR
24 March 2016

cruyff 1Cruyff was the star of the Holland team of the 1970s which invented the style of “Total Football.” | Photo: AFP

Cruyff dazzled fans with this trickery and rejected Argentina’s brutal dictatorship in an unmatched soccer career.

Johan Cruyff, one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, and perhaps ever, missed the 1978 FIFA World Cup held in Argentina as he didn’t want to play close to the torture chambers the right-wing government had set up to house dissidents of the regime.

RELATED: Johan Cruyff Father of Modern Day Soccer Dies Aged 68

Dictatorship in Argentina

“How can you play soccer a thousand meters from a torture center?” he is quoted as saying before the tournament.

The South American nation was in turmoil at the time of the competition after a right-wing coup, led by General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera…

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Syrian refugee footballer sees professional match again


Ramy Guneat at international women's match The Netherlands-Switzerland, photo by Lieke Lamb

Translated from Dutch daily Metro:

Tears of happiness of refugee professional soccer player in ADO stadium

March 3, 2016 at 11:53 by Johan van Boven

The lighting columns, the stands, the cheering fans, the pitch, the players and the rolling ball. Ramy Guneat could not stop himself from crying this Wednesday because of the atmosphere in the stadium of ADO in The Hague. Tears of happiness, says the 29-year-old refugee from Syria who attended the match between the Dutch women’s football team and Switzerland.

That was a match for qualification for the Olympic Games football in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The Netherlands won the match, four goals against three.

The civil war in his homeland ended his career as a professional footballer. Guneat was under contract with AL-Karamah SC, a big club from his hometown Homs. “But two years ago the situation was so bad that I wanted nothing more than to escape,” he said in English, plus the occasional few words in Dutch. “Explosions everywhere. Also the area around our stadium was hit severely”.

Boat

So Guneat left his family and crossed the border to Turkey, where he crossed on a small boat to Greece. He then embarked on a long journey to the Netherlands. He points his finger to the palm of his hand, which serves as the map of Europe. “First I went to Macedonia, then to Serbia and Hungary. Eventually I came here, which is now about five months ago.”

Large parts of the route he traveled on foot, interspersed with bus rides. “I was on my way never really afraid, starvation was the worst. Hungary was not a nice country, the people there were very unfriendly. Very bad! Many people were angry at us and the police have arrested a number of refugees and thrown them in jail. When that happened, we stood together as a group. I was lucky that I was somewhere in the middle of that group, otherwise they would have jailed me.”

Emergency shelter

In the Netherlands, he arrived in the reception center in Haarlem, now he is staying in an emergency shelter in Duinrell. There he must wait until he gets refugee status and then again relocate to a refugee center elsewhere in the country.

Besides Guneat stands Lieke Lamb. She teaches in Duinrell Dutch lessons to refugees and had a spare ticket for the match Switzerland-The Netherlands (3-4) in the stadium of ADO Den Haag. “I knew that one of my students had a friend who in Syria used to be a professional footballer. So I asked Ramy whether he would like to go to a women’s football match.”…

He starts to laugh. “I really liked it, especially the number 10 I think was very good,” he refers to [Dutch international player] Danielle van de Donk. “Yet it also hurts a little to see people kick a ball.” He himself has not played any game for two years. At least not at the professional level.

He begins to swipe busily on his phone. Guneat conjures pictures and videos of a football match between a team of refugees and the amateurs of Blauw Zwart. “That was last week in Wassenaar. Look, this is when we played a match in the stadium of HFC Haarlem. Do you see the number 14? That’s me!”

In the Netherlands, he would prefer to find a job in the sports sector. But his biggest dream is to return to a peaceful Syria. “Then I will be able to play football again for my club.”

As growing numbers of refugees flee imperialist wars in the Middle East, the EU is preparing draconian attacks on democratic rights to prevent them from coming to Europe: here.

The commander of NATO armed forces said Tuesday that Russia, Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were using the refugees streaming out of Syria into Europe as weapons against European countries. Using more restrained language than Donald Trump or European neo-fascists attacking refugees from Syria, US General Philip Breedlove voiced a similar opinion, declaring, “Europe faces the daunting challenge of mass migration spurred by state instability and state collapse, a migration that masks the movement of criminals, terrorists, and foreign fighters”: here.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sought to justify her policy of erecting new walls around “Fortress Europe” with humanitarian phrases—most recently in a Sunday talk show. On Tuesday, she adopted a very different tone. At a press conference with Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković in Berlin, she commented on the refugee crisis in Greece and the Balkans with the brutality associated with Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer, or officials of the nationalist AfD (Alternative for Germany): here.

VVSB amateur footballers lose cup semifinal against FC Utrecht


This 1 March 2016 Dutch video is about the last training of the Noordwijkerhout amateur footballers of VVSB at their home ground; before playing the Dutch cup semifinal tonight against the FC Utrecht professionals in Utrecht.

18 minutes before the end of the match it was still zero goals each. In the last eighteen minutes, FC Utrecht made three goals. So, they will play the final.

VVSB amateur against professional football, women’s football update


This 1 March 2016 Dutch video is about the small town Noordwijkerhout wishing its football club VVSB success in the Dutch cup semifinals.

Tonight, the amateur football players of VVSB in small town Noordwijkerhout play against premier league professionals FC Utrecht, in the Utrecht stadium.

At half time now, still no goals by anyone.

Two thousand VVSB supporters went by bus to Utrecht. Oner of the VVSB players had forgotten his football shoes. So, a policeman on a motorbike brought them to the stadium.

Also tonight, the Dutch women’s football team won 4 against 3 goals against the Swiss team. In a match which is part of qualifying for the Olympic football competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

Dutch amateur VVSB footballers in cup semifinal tonight


This 1 March 2016 music video is from the Dutch small town Noordwijkerhout. The song was written especially by local pub owner Pieter van der Geest, for local amateur football club VVSB; which will play tonight in Utrecht city against premier league professionals FC Utrecht, in the semifinals of the Dutch football cup.

The song is called Ga met de Bavo mee; Go with Bavo. The full name of VVSB is Football Club Saint Bavo, as the club was originally founded by workers of local Saint Bavo psychiatric hospital in 1931.

VVSB got so far in the Dutch cup competition, very rare for amateur footballers, by beating another professional club, FC Den Bosch.

Dutch NOS TV reports today that journalists from foreign countries have gone to Noordwijkerhout to watch VVSB train. Including from the USA, Spain and the Italian La Gazetta Dello Sport.

This video shows how on 6 February 2016 the Noordwijkerhout carnival society celebrated the victory of VVSB against FC Den Bosch.

The local confectioner’s sells cakes in yellow and purple, the VVSB colours.

VVSB gloves

There are also 200 purple and yellow gloves for fans to wear at the match in the stadium tonight.

Bahrain torture and football news


This 2014 video is called ‘People were tortured in front of my eyes’: Bahrain top human rights activist Nabeel Rajab released.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Shadow of Human Rights Abuse Follows Contender in FIFA Vote

By REBECCA R. RUIZ

FEB. 24, 2016

ZURICH — Nothing has rocked international soccer quite like the waves of arrests made across several continents last year as the United States announced bribery and corruption charges against the men running the sport, the world’s biggest and richest. But as the organization that governs global soccer gathers this week to choose a new president, a leading contender risks stirring up another source of controversy for the sport: human rights.

With the election set to be held here on Friday, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, a member of the ruling family of Bahrain and the president of the governing body for soccer in Asia, might already have the support of a commanding number of voting countries, making him one of the favorites, with Gianni Infantino, to replace Sepp Blatter as president of FIFA.

Critics have seized on one aspect of Sheikh Salman’s background that remains unclear: They want FIFA to investigate whether he had any connection to the jailing and torture of Bahraini athletes who peacefully protested his family’s rule in 2011 during the Arab Spring.

Sheikh Salman ‘knew about player beatings’, says ex-Bahrain international: here.

FIFA presidential hopeful Prince Ali bin al-Hussein has been reprimanded for raising questions about his Bahraini rival’s human rights record. Despite presenting himself as untainted by Fifa’s dodgy dealings due to only arriving at the top table recently, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al-Khalifa has been accused of dobbing in athletes who were involved in pro-democracy protests in Bahrain in 2011: here.

Shaikh Salman’s own goal cost him the top job at FIFA: here.

Bahrain Finds Opposition Leader Guilty of Opposition: here.

Repression continues in Bahrain in an increasingly tense regional environment: here.