Long Live Maradona! World Honors ‘Golden Kid’ One Year After Death

Walter Rotundo (C) poses for a photo with his twins daughters Mara (L) and Dona, named in honour of the football star Diego Maradona, in front of murals painted outside of Diego Maradona stadium in Buenos Aires, on November 16, 2021. TOMAS CUESTA / AFP

 

From a bronze statue unveiled in Naples to humble offerings of flowers at his childhood home in a Buenos Aires slum, people around the world mourned the death one year ago Thursday of football great Diego Maradona.

Fans, players, coaches, clubs, and loved ones paid homage to the man revered for his talent and adored for his grandiose life and legacy.

From Villa Fiorito, a poor neighborhood of Buenos Aires where Maradona grew up, to Italy’s Naples, where he spent several years of his stellar career, and India, tributes abounded.

On football pitches in Argentina, players arranged themselves in a “10” formation to honor the famous jersey number of the man nicknamed the “Pibe de Oro” or Golden Kid, as fans chanted “Marado, Marado!”

Outside his humble childhood home, bouquets of flowers and messages piled up — one reading: “You gave us heaven.”

“Maradona was the voice of the Argentine people. We will miss him and love him all our lives,” said fan Jose Maria Fernandez, through tears.

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View of a football with an image of late Argentine football legend Diego Armando Maradona during a homage on the first anniversary of his death, in Montevideo, on November 25, 2021.
Dante Fernandez / AFP

 

At the cemetery in Bella Vista, where his remains are, fans defied heavy rain to pay tribute at a giant graffiti inscription reading: “Here rests D10S” — a play on the Spanish word for god, “Dios.” Only family was allowed inside.

In Kolkota, India, a statue of Maradona was decorated with flowers, while in the southern Kerala state, fans gathered at a hotel where the footballer stayed in 2012 and which has become something of a shrine.

“We are all Maradona fans and we miss him a lot,” Ravindran Veleimbra, owner of the Hotel Blue Nile in Kannur, told AFP.

‘Football’s great god’ 

A life-size bronze statue depicting late Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona by Italian sculptor Domenico Sepe is seen outside the eponym stadium in Naples on November 25, 2021 in Naples.Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

In Naples, where Maradona is almost as much of an icon as in Buenos Aires, a bronze statue of the athlete was inaugurated outside the Napoli stadium — renamed in his honor following his death.

Another will be unveiled inside the stadium on Sunday so that “players will be able to touch the hands and feet of football’s great god,” said Napoli football club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Maradona died of a heart attack a year ago Thursday aged 60, weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot.

The former Boca Juniors, Barcelona, and Napoli star had long battled cocaine and alcohol addictions and was suffering from liver, kidney, and cardiovascular disorders when he died.

His death shocked fans around the world and tens of thousands lined up to file past his coffin, draped in the Argentine flag, at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires during three days of national mourning.

“It’s been a year since the world has been more horrible because you are no longer here,” Dalma Maradona, the star striker’s eldest daughter, wrote on Twitter Thursday.

‘Hand of God’ 

 

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Brazilian football great Pele paid tribute to his fellow legend on Instagram, writing: “One year without Diego. Friends forever.”

And Lionel Messi, who captains the Argentine 11 like Maradona before him, wrote on social media: “Diego Eternal” with a photo of him wearing the national jersey with Maradona’s face on it.

He may be dead, but in Argentina, Maradona is everywhere — from ubiquitous murals to television series about his life and even a “church” bearing his name.

In a country where football is a religion, he is a god.

Maradona’s two goals in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals, which saw Argentina triumph over England just four years after the Falklands War, made him an instant hero.

He is perhaps remembered as much for his “Hand of God” goal — which illegally came off his hand in what he ascribed to supernatural intervention — as for his second in the same match against England, which would later become known as the “Goal of the Century.”

His rags-to-riches story, stellar sporting achievements, complicated life and dramatic death entrenched his place in the Argentine psyche.

Murals in Buenos Aires depict Maradona with angel wings, as a patron saint complete with halo and scepter, or kissing the World Cup.

Maradona’s name continues to make headlines as well, with Argentines closely following an investigation into his death in which seven caregivers, including his neurosurgeon, are charged.

A panel of 20 medical experts concluded in April that Maradona’s treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities” and said his medical team had left his survival “to fate.”

The probe has been competing for headline space with the court case over an inheritance dispute involving two of Maradona’s daughters.

Adding to the news coverage, this week, a Cuban woman who had an affair with Maradona as a minor 20 years ago, accused him and his entourage of abuse, including rape.

AFP

Kenyan Athlete Agnes Tirop Found Dead With Stab Wounds

In this file photo taken on May 04, 2018 Agnes Jebet Tirop of Kenya celebrates after winning second-place in the women’s 3000 metres race during the Diamond League athletics competition at the Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha.  KARIM JAAFAR / AFP

 

Record-breaking Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop was found dead Wednesday with stab wounds to her stomach in a suspected homicide, athletics officials said.

Police said they were on the hunt for her husband over the incident at Tirop’s home in the high-altitude training hub of Iten in western Kenya.

Tirop, 25, was a fast-rising athlete — a double world 10,000m bronze medallist and 2015 world cross county champion who also finished fourth in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics this year.

Only last month, she smashed the women-only 10km world record at the Road to Records Event in Germany, with a time of 30:01, slicing 28 seconds off the previous record, Athletics Kenya said.

Tirop also made history in 2015 when she became the second-youngest ever gold medallist in the women’s cross country championships after Zola Budd.

“Kenya has lost a jewel who was one of the fastest rising athletics giants on the international stage, thanks to her eye-catching performances on the track,” Athletics Kenya said in a statement.

“We are still working to unearth more details about her demise.”

Keiyo North police commander Tom Makori told AFP that Tirop’s husband Emmanuel Rotich was a “man of interest” in the case and was the subject of a police hunt.

“He can tell us what happened,” Makori said. “The suspect had made a call to Tirop’s parents saying that he’d committed something wrong. So we believe he knows what happened.”

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‘A Kenyan Hero’ 

In this file photo taken on May 04, 2018 Agnes Jebet Tirop of Kenya celebrates after winning second-place in the women’s 3000 metres race during the Diamond League athletics competition at the Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha.  KARIM JAAFAR / AFP

 

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta paid tribute to the young athlete and urged the police to track down those behind her death.

“It is unsettling, utterly unfortunate and very sad that we’ve lost a young and promising athlete who, at a young age of 25 years, she had brought our country so much glory through her exploits on the global athletics stage,” he said in a statement.

“It is even more painful that Agnes, a Kenyan hero by all measures, painfully lost her young life through a criminal act perpetuated by selfish and cowardly people,” he said.

The US embassy in Nairobi also expressed its condolences over the loss of Tirop, describing her as “a figure of hope for women in sports”.

On Saturday, another Kenyan long-distance athlete Hosea Mwok Macharinyang, a member of the country’s record-breaking world cross country team, died of what Kenyan athletics officials said was suicide.

Macharinyang, 35, was found in his home in West Pokot in western Kenya.

“He was such a brilliant athlete, committed to the sport where he competed for Kenya for many years in both cross country and the 5,000m and 10,000m races,” Jackson Pkemoi, the West Pokot representative of Athletics Kenya, told AFP.

Macharinyang made a record eight appearances, and won three consecutive titles for Kenya in the World Cross Country Championships from 2006 to 2008.

Kenya is the most successful nation in the cross country championships, having won 49 team and 27 individual titles.

AFp

Two Policemen Shot Dead In Osun Bank Robbery

A Logo of the Nigerian Police Force

 

Two policemen have been killed by armed robbers who attacked a commercial bank in Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area of Osun State.

The robbers – numbering about 20 – who came in about four vehicles also attacked the Divisional Police Headquarters in Iragbiji.

Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Opalola Olawoyin, confirmed the attack in a statement on Wednesday.

She identified those killed as Inspector Ogunbiyi Ahmed and Inspector Odeyemi Ayinla, saying they were killed while chasing the fleeing criminals.

“The gunmen invaded the Police Divisional Headquarters and a bank with sporadic shooting and launching of explosive devices in an attempt to disorganise, incapacitate and destabilise the police who were in a fierce gun battle with them, while robbing the bank simultaneously,” said Olawoyin.

“As a result, some parts of the Divisional Police Headquarters were damaged. The daredevils also shot at Police Armoured Personnel Carrier tyres with explosive devices.”

The assailants gained entry into the bank by blowing off its security door with a stick of dynamite and subsequently destroyed an ATM machine there.

But an attempt to break into the bank’s strong room was foiled.

Upon sighting the policemen, the robbers reportedly engaged them in a fight, but later fled the scene, abandoning their unused explosives and two of their vehicles.

According to Olawoyinm, police officers in collaboration with local security outfits are already combing the bushes in a bid to arrest the robbers said to have escaped with multiple injuries.

On his part, the Commissioner of Police in Osun, Olawale Olokode, asked residents to cooperate with the police.

He asked them to provide prompt and useful information about anybody seen with gunshot wounds, in a bid to nip in the bud all criminal activities in the state.

How Twitter Reacted To Reports Of Kobe Bryant’s Death

 

 

How people on Twitter reacted to reports of the death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant on Sunday:

“Just devastated to hear about #KobeBryant. An extraordinary athlete, and a genuinely kind, wonderful man. Sending love, prayers & compassion to his family. To his entire @NBA family as well.”

— Oscar winning actress Reese Witherspoon

“Heart going out to the Bryant family right now. RIP Kobe Bryant.”

— US women’s footballer and World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe

“Kobe – you were a true inspiration to me as an athlete. I always admired your professionalism, drive and dedication. Our thoughts are with your loved ones. RIP.”

— Tennis star Kim Clijsters

“Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened to hear the horrific news about Kobe Bryant. Thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this terribly sad time #RIPKobeBryant.”

— Australian cricket legend Shane Warne

“@kobebryant Gone much too soon, how devastating to hear of his passing, he gave joy to so many for so long – deep condolences to his family, his friends, his Laker family. RIP Kobe… #lifeistooshort.”

— Tennis great Martina Navratilova

“Heartbreaking news! Hard to fathom @kobebryant is gone. Just had their 4th child. 41 years old. #insane. RIP Kobe.”

— Former US tennis star Tracy Austin

“We miss you already Kobe.”

— NFL Super Bowl winner Tom Brady

“This is unreal.”

— LPGA golfer Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods

“I truly can’t believe this. My heart is so heavy. Rest In Peace Kobe. What an unimaginable loss. All of my prayers to your loved ones.”

— Former US Open tennis champion Sloane Stephens

“Life is so precious man. I was a huge fan. RIP Mamba.”

— US tennis player Mardy Fish

“Kobe Bryant you’re an angel. RIP to you legend. So kind and had time for everyone. The epitome of class and hard work. An Idol. Prayers to his family.”

— US footballer Jozy Altidore

“Hard to believe. RIP #KobeBryant #MambaMentality.”

— US golfer Bryson DeChambeau

“On behalf of myself, the players and staff at AS Roma, we join the rest of the sporting world in mourning the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant. Kobe was a true icon and our thoughts are now with his family and the families of all of the victims aboard that flight.”

— Jim Pallotta, the owner of Italian football giants AS Roma

“Shock right now. RIP KOBE.”

— World golf number one Brooks Koepka

“The moment you realise life ain’t something to fuck with! If you feel something tell that person! If you miss someone tell that person.. you never know when your time is up!”

— Australian rugby union international Quade Cooper

“I just found out 5 minutes ago and I still can’t believe it… Another example of how fragile life is, let’s enjoy it while we can. (And avoid helicopters until they are safer). DEP Kobe and the other 5 victims.”

— Spain’s former world motorcycling champion Jorge Lorenzo

“LA has lost one of our true superstars. Stunning to hear about the tragic and untimely death of #KobeBryant My heart goes out to his family and all the fans who will feel this loss so deeply.”

— Hollywood actress Tara Buck

“Speechless and shocked!! REST IN HEAVEN MAMBA.”

— German football international Kevin-Prince Boateng

Eleven Migrants Found Dead In Boat Off Spain

 

Eleven migrants have been found dead in a boat in the sea off southern Spain along with 33 survivors, the Spanish coastguard said on Thursday.

A coastguard spokeswoman told AFP that rescuers had taken the migrants, who came from sub-Saharan Africa, to the Spanish port of Almeria early Thursday.

She said rescue services had been searching for the boat for two days in the sea between Spain’s southern Andalusia region and the north of Morocco.

“Eleven people were found dead on board and 33 alive” — four women and 29 men, she said.

There was no indication that minors were among the dead or the survivors.

The coastguard is searching for three other boats in the same area, each with between 50 and 55 migrants on board.

Spain has become one of the main points of entry into Europe for irregular migration, ahead of Greece and Italy.

The International Organization for Migration says that more than 55,000 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea this year, and that 744 have died trying, more than three times as many as in 2017.

AFP

Former Minister, Babalola Borishade Dies At 71

A Former Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Professor Babalola Borishade, has died at the age of 71.

The minister, who according to reports, died in London after a brief illness, served in different ministries between 1999-2011.

He was also a teacher, a political strategist and an electrical engineer.

Meanwhile, his former colleague and Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode, described his death as a monumental loss, saying he was a good elder brother, who would be missed by the entire nation.