The Bolivian President’s love for football
Recently we learned some interesting things about the Bolivian President; he has turned out to be an avid football fan, and is also a very brutal player. Recently during a friendly football match played in the country, another player fouled the president,
so the leader of the country went over and kneed the man in the groin. Once the match was over, the man was about to be arrested for assaulting the President but sanity prevailed and the police were told that it was just a football match and these things happened.
This has not been the first time the President has been involved in a tough football match and it may not be the last either.
The current Bolivian President, Juan Evo Morales Ayma, who is called Evo for short, is an eccentric character. He was elected to the post through 53.7% of the popular vote in the country. He assumed office in 2006 and has been the leader of the country ever
since. He was re-elected for his second term in 2009 by 63% and is proving to be a very popular president. He is known for wearing a strange striped sweater vest and can be seen sporting that even during official visits from foreign dignitaries. His other
eccentricities include slashing his own salary by 50% in 2006 and also living with four other party members in a small flat. What is very interesting about the man is that he is a huge football fan and regularly plays matches all over the country.
Over the years the President has gotten into a few scraps and scuffles while on the football field. He probably thinks it is all in a day’s game and may not think twice about it but it does affect the other players on the field. In 2006, the enigmatic leader
was playing a match when he got into a clash with a goalkeeper on the opposing team and he broke his nose. Now we do not really know who was at fault there but the President came out of it the worse for wear.
In 2007, Bolivia was being penalised for playing its international fixtures at such high altitudes because it gave them an unfair advantage. People claimed that by playing so high up, the Bolivians developed the ability to breathe with less oxygen, while
their opponents could not keep up the pace. To protest against this, the President played a football match 6,000m above sea level, which is about 19,700 feet. He took part in the match to take a stand against what he thought was a very illogical reason to
penalise a football team.
The most recent scrap that the President found himself in was during a friendly match between the President’s political party and the political party of the Mayor of La Paz, Luis Revilla. The match was taking place to inaugurate a new football stadium that
had recently been built in the area. It was supposed to be a clean and fun encounter between two teams made up of amateur players.
But it did not quite go that way because five minutes into the game, fouls started to take place all over the field. The worst incident took place when an opposing player fouled the President very badly and Morales got up went over to the player and kneed
him in a very delicate area. The player who got kneed was sent off as was a bodyguard of the President for fighting.
This strange incident gets even stranger because after the game the police wanted to arrest the opposing player who had fouled Evo. But the Mayor intervened and the poor man was spared. It was a case of the police trying to protect the honour of the President
of the country. The match ended on a sour note and the President’s action was caught on camera for the whole of the country to see.
If the President cannot control his temper while playing a game of football, he should really not be playing. He should be very well aware of the fact that football is a physical game and fouls do occur. Is kicking someone in the groin really the answer?
Hopefully, the President does not take the same hard handed approach to his politics. We might be lucky to see a calmer and more civilised leader of Bolivia at the next match he plays.