The Underside of Futbol


Just a week ago I sat near Kenya’s Lake Naivasha watching the Brazil vs. Chile game. Chile was the underdog, and after having easily walked over Spain, they were the clear favorites inside the bar. In fact, every Kenyan I met that day was cheering for “red hot Chile.” I was amazed how well they knew the Chilean and Brazilian players (beyond Alexis Sánchez and Neymar) and found myself to be the only one cheering when Gonzalo Jara hit the bar and lost the game. The mood was incredible: halfway across the world, I was sitting at a table with Egyptian, German, American, and Kenyan friends watching a futbol game in peace. After leaving my home country of Mexico more than a decade ago, I am equally proud to be Latin American as to cheer for Giovanni Dos Santos’ goals. Although that night I was proud to see everyone cheer for Latin America — I haven’t seen anyone here cheer for Europe, it’s Latin America all the way — I was equally aware of how the World Cup has eclipsed glaring social inequities in our side of the world.

Diego Ponce de Leon
Publication date: 
July 11, 2014
Publication type: 
Blog Entry