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Mourning Eusébio, breath of hope for many, in dark days of Portugal’s past …

  • January 7th, 2014
  • Posted by EU Australia

Eusebio_BenficaPortugal is observing three days of national mourning in honour of the Football star Eusébio who died on Sunday aged 71 in Lisbon.

Crowds came out onto the streets of the capital, 6.1.14, as his funeral cortege passed by, with ceremonies held at the town hall and in front of 10000 at the home stadium of his club, Benfica.  

Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was born in the then-colony of Mozambique. He became an outstanding Forward, scoring 733 goals in 745 matches as a professional player. He captained Portugal, and as top scorer in the competition, led his team to third place in the World Cup in 1966, the year England won. Known for fairness he was prepared to applaud an opposing team, and among many tributes would be called, with admiration, the “Black Pearl”.

It was the era of Football as a national obsession, and relief in many poorer countries, mainly in Latin America but Portugal included; taking people’s minds off a bad economic life and bad government. That came to be called “alienation” from real life, but kids like Eusébio, in Africa, got a chance, kicking a “football” made up from paper and plastic bags, out in the streets.

Portugal came out of a despotic era in the mid-1970s, holding free elections in 1976, the first in 50 years. Enduring a backward status prolonged over decades, eclipsing its present economic straits, Portugal  moved forward economically and into the mainstream of European life, notably after joining the European Community in 1986.

Reference 

The Guardian, Manchester, Eusébio, Portugal’s footballing hero, dies at 71, 5.1.14. http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jan/05/eusebio-portugal-football-hero-dies-71, (7.1.14).

CTV News, BC, Thousands pay tribute to deceased Portuguese football hero Eusebio, 6.1.14. http://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/thousands-pay-tribute-to-deceased-portuguese-football-hero-eusebio-1.1619555, (7.1.14).

Picture wikipedia

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