BARBOSA TRAGEDY!!!

“In sports, with the exception of supporters of the losing team, or citizens of the losing country, people generally love underdog victories. The story of triumph against all expectations is usually cause for excitement.

Which brings me to why I wonder why more than 60 years after, the world continues to refer to the Uruguay defeat of Brazil at the Maracana stadium as a tragedy. It may be described as a Tragedy of Expectations, A tragedy of Arrogance, but definitely NOT a football tragedy by any means”.

That several people died on the day or days following the match is without question a sad event. I is clearly evident of the degree of passion and expectation that preceded the match. One would have thought that the loss of lives through suicides and hysteria would have helped to prevent further deaths, painful deaths.

The refusal to allow many of the members of the Brazilian team of the 1950 final to play for Brazil again, and the continuous public taunting and torture of Barbosa, a brilliant goalkeeper at the time, that ultimately followed him to the grave, is what I call the BARBOSA TRAGEDY.

2O years after the 1950 final, by 1974, even after Brazil had won 3 World cups (in Sweden-1958, Chile-1962 and Mexico-1970), Barbosa was still abused publicly. In one common narrative, as Barbosa walked into a shop, a woman pointed him out to her son saying, “look at him, he’s the man who made all of Brazil cry.”

Barbosa wasn’t even allowed to visit a Brazil training camp in 1993, 43 Years after the 1950 match, to avoid bringing bad luck on the team. Barbosa is quoted to have said, “I am not guilty. There were 11 of us. In Brazil, the maximum sentence is 30 years, but I have served 50years.” Barbosa died a broke man in 2000. (Excerpts from the book “Ignorance of Arrogance” by Okee Onwuka).

The Barbosa Tragedy is one that has shown us the extent to which arrogance has eaten deep into our society with sports not left out. Many at times, we are ignorant or unaware that certain actions we display both in public and in secret have a pinch of arrogance attached to it. Arrogance is one negative character that is responsible for wars, tribalism, hatred, hubris and this entitlement mindset that has and is currently crippling the mind of our youths and even our government officials.

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