The player who was born in a small boat and, to equal his father, He played a World

The player who was born in a small boat and, to equal his father, He played a World

Last update November 7, 2019 by Javier Argudo

It is always there, at the foot of his light flashing, which illuminates him in the dark of night. Their clothing ranges from the three options offered by the wardrobe. They never miss those gloves trimmed by hovering their chapped hands clutching, with the strength of survival, an aging pack of tissues. His sad look yellowish crystals bounces on cars, Few hearts are softened at that smile that both hits off his star.


14 June 1974, eleven players line up before the tribune of the Westfalenstadion Dortmund de. On the chest of each of them the picture of a leopard fierce surrounded by the legend "Léopards Zaïre" which occupies almost all of his yellow jersey. Zamarra a breakthrough with the classicism of football and seventies, per se, anticipates the historic event: for the first time a selection of sub-Saharan Africa dispute the final phase of a global. Ahead were three games left so many Images recorded in the annals of world.

That first time revealed the footballing difference between Africa and the rest of the world. Something that was reversing global world. Four in four years, the countries of the eternal continent They began to boast of a physical football and cheerful; a brave game, able to fill with happiness not only to their countries of origin but to all those who crawl, in any corner of the planet, sorrow leaving their land. That sad people, for ninety minutes feel his pride repaired.


Among those pioneers it is necessary to rescue a surname, Mavuba. A name that would forever linked to football in one of the most compelling stories that can offer the spherical writer.

Ric Mavuba Mafuila It was a fine midfielder who excelled at this combined made to the order of the dictator Mobutu. With a great touch of the ball nicknamed "black magician" to being able thrashing gained from the corner with astonishing ease.

But nevertheless, the life of a prestigious African footballer in the seventies was very different from today, the jump to Europe was unthinkable. Hopefully the borders opened some protectorate country offering a modest life. It was the case Mavuba, what, after winning the Champions African clubs and African Nations Cup of nations, He reached an advanced Angola to put the finishing touch to his career. There he met Teresa and planned his life in that, until then, peaceful country.

Things would soon change, Angola he is stirring to break free from the Portuguese yoke. They were coming scrambled times. A long-awaited independence followed the outbreak of one of the bloodiest and longevas wars in modern history.

The dangerous journey by boat

The Mavuba They found no better start to get on a boat and burst into the sea. Recognition and footballing successes of the "sorcerer" and belonged to another life that seemed to have fallen overboard from the boat. Beside, Teresa cries disconsolately. Her tears mixed with water waterlogged boat, just give birth, in an unspecified location in the Ocean, a baby of uncertain future.

But the sea winding patera patient sways so that, as if it were a crib, waves mark the beat of the lullaby sung ever saltier. Miraculously the baby arrives safely at the port of Marsella. The year 1984 and Teresa had it very clear, Will be called River, as water flowed through the veins of that child.


"Born in the sea". That simple, this hard. The passport of the young Rio Mavuba It shows their insignificance in the world. Nobody matter in France, anyone care in Africa. River is nobody, It is a stateless person, It belongs to the sea.

I do not know where she was born river, beyond aboard a patera. His mother died when he was two, his father when he was twelve, "I was very little to talk about these issues, but surely even they would know ". His mother remembers nothing, his father too little, "Evenings together on the couch trying to watch football matches of a coded Canal Plus". That united them, love football, and that was what he did recover all the setbacks of life. Who knows if to feel more closely the memory of his father.

Mavuba got into the prestigious school of the Girondins Bordeaux, there would break all doors. With scarcely 19 years debuted in first. Then he began importing, -New to the Congo Zaire, Angola ... in France. They fight for the young man who does not feel anyone. The logic that can not understand patriotisms, you do opt for all he knows. In summer 2004, Rio Mavuba debut with the national team of France, a small detail that makes the Gallic country put the outcry, You do not have French citizenship. Something would work out thanks to their new status.

Finally I have a country, so far only he had a boat "

Rio Mavuba. The country. 04/10/04

Under the nicknames "the new Makelele" or "little Tigana" came to Spain to changed seven million euros, an amount of money can stop a war. The Villarreal, the team of Spanish football fashion, it was done with their services. The destiny wanted that little born in the sea will call the submarine. But on the whole trained by Pellegrini not have too many opportunities in January and return to France to make history with Small. Win a league and would walk his name by the best stadiums in Europe.

The peak of his career and nod to the fate was yet to come, It would be the 13 May 2014, when Didier Deschamps included surname Mavuba in the list of French selected for the World Cup in Brazil. 40 years after the football circle closed the Mavuba, confirming a story of overcoming difficult to imagine. Sure from heaven, his father, saw his son made his debut in the World Cup without having to squint, without having to decode the sea.

I struggle to see the images of the boats full of Africans coming to Europe. They are very hard. are people who want a better life in another country and risk everything.

Rio Mavuba. The country. 25/09/2007

After surviving this journey in small boats, Rio Mavuba managed a World Cup to equal his father.

Jose Quesada

Historian, Grenadian and granadinista. In search of the "anti-heroes" of the League, because they are the grim stories that give a touch legendary football. Puedes seguirme en @JxQuesada Autor de “Los Antihéroes del Granada C.F.”

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