The opening of the 2010 World Cup is just around the corner. Cape Town, the capital of South Africa, has attracted attention from all over the world. The island of Robin, not far from Cape Town, has once again become the focus of attention. The once isolated and imprisoned land has become famous today. World Heritage. However, few people know that there have been several special football teams on Robin Island. In the dark years of apartheid, football is freely expressed in the same meaning on the isolated island of the iron window.
The famous Robin Island is located in the Atlantic Ocean about 12 km north of Cape Town. In the era of apartheid in South Africa, this small island was used to detain those “extremely dangerous” black political prisoners. Former South African President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years in a separate cell here.
But in that dark day, a special association was born in this island prison – the “Mcana Football Association” organized by prisoners. Who can think that the “forward” and “defenders” who used to wear prison uniforms and play barefoot on the island are now guiding the development of the new era in South Africa. A party chairman, several ministers, a Constitutional Court judge, and one of South Africa’s wealthiest businessmen – each of whom was once a member of the “McAana Football Association.”
Today, 67-year-old Tony Suze lives in the quiet suburb of Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa. No one knows that this seemingly ordinary old man was a bloody young man who led the Robin Island prisoners to fight and form a football association. From 1963 to 1978, Su Ze sat on Robin Island for 15 years. In the meantime, he completed a feat – bringing the football that symbolizes freedom into the island.
In 1960, in Chapelville, police shot and killed 69 civilians who participated in peaceful demonstrations of the Anti-Apartheid Pass. Since then, the uprising against apartheid in various parts of South Africa has continued to rise, and the crackdown on government authorities has become increasingly violent. One day in 1963, 21-year-old Tony Suze went out to play with friends as usual. A police car suddenly stopped in front of them. Several police officers could not help but say that Suze was on the bus. A few days later, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for treason. When he had only one shorts on his body and set foot on Robin Island, the prison guard told him wickedly that he was no longer Tony Susser, but 50163 – on behalf of him, the 1963 Robin Island No. 501 prisoner.
Every day on the island is full of humiliation and suffering. Washed in cold sea water, inspected naked, and then the heavy work of mining limestone day after day. When you work, you are not allowed to speak. If you do a little slower, you will be beaten immediately. If you dare to question the order of the guard, the only end is that the whole child is buried in the soil and only has his head left.
Prisoners can only feel the peace of mind for a moment in the collective cell at night. One night, Tony Suze made a ball with waste paper. Although he was far from the football in memory, he couldn’t help but “show off” his skills to the prisoners. The next day, the prisoners in the entire collective cell rushed to show their “single ball skills” to their companions. A few days later, the ball was replaced by a more solid ball made of broken prison uniforms, and the individual performance show became a chaotic football game.
”Our courage is getting bigger and bigger, from one person to everyone to see and develop into a scuffle. But this is not enough, we have greater ambitions – go out and go to the cell to play outside!” Today, I talked about the year. In that scene, Suze is still passionate and difficult to self. “We are ready for the long-term struggle until the dream is realized.”
This fight lasted for three full years. In the meantime, Su Ze and his prisoners were beaten, hungry, and confined. After their unrelenting requests and lobbying, the authorities finally gave in and allowed them to have half an hour of outdoor kicking time every Saturday.
In the early morning of December 1967, two teams – “cavalry” and “bucks” finally stood on the field. Despite the pits and pits, the goal was built by the prisoners with abandoned planks, and the players were barefooted, but these did not affect their enthusiasm and commitment to the long-awaited game.
Later, more and more prisoners applied to join the team, the football association continued to grow and develop, and finally formed three branches, a total of nine teams. Later, even people held in separate cells tried to find out the news and even watch the game.
”We are not playing without any rules. Our association development, team building, and even every game process strictly abide by the rules of FIFA.” Su Ze recalled. To be a referee, you must keep all the rules in mind and pass a special test. The entire process of the exam is recorded. And if a player commits a foul, he may even face a disciplinary hearing from the “Committee.” The team’s “managers” agreed on the exact date of each other’s hand in formal written form, although the two teams may be next door, but the rules are also sloppy. Today, at the University of Western Cape, there are still more than a dozen boxes left by the “Mcana Football Association”, which are filled with brochures such as the rules of the handwritten by the members of the association, the reward and punishment system, and other conferences. Records, team armbands, etc.
”As prisoners, we can only obey the rules,” Suze said. “But football has made us a ruler.
In a sense, the Marcona Football Association is also a cadre training center for the preparation of a democratic South Africa. Among the members of these associations are today’s South African rich and FIFA senior official Tokyo Sax Valen (he used to be the best player on Robin Island), Democratic South Africa’s prestigious Constitutional Court Vice President Dickan Mawson Nak (former referee) and cabinet member Steve Chewitt (team guard) who was later awarded the title of national hero and current president of South Africa Jacob Buzza (captain of the “cavalry” team).
”Kicking is a way for us to live.” Su Ze recalled, “The prison in Robin Island is used to destroy our lives, and football is a kind of salvation to life, it brings us hope. Very It is hard to imagine that a sport that is passionate about the world can also make political prisoners living in despair and darkness mentally sound and therefore glorious.”
In the late 1970s, black political prisoners who were detained all year round began to be gradually released. However, the Marcona Football Association has always played a role until the last political prisoners in 1991 before the island was active in the front line against apartheid and fighting for freedom. In 2007, after more than 40 years of long history, the Marcona Football Association finally won the official recognition of FIFA and became the only member of the FIFA Association that does not represent the country.
Suzie is a bit excited about the upcoming 2010 World Cup. “I am very excited. The World Cup can be held here. Besides us, who else can have such a deep understanding of football and always pursue and love?” ”