A la Maratea, but for free: an Argentinian raises funds to improve a soccer field in Zambia which will be called Diego Maradona

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Google’s car didn’t drive into Zambia’s Maramba neighborhood to put it in the images on its map. Maybe, and as the Argentine describes it martin shatal those who have lived there since the beginning of 2023, that portion of the African continent colonized and oppressed by the United Kingdom has the same abandonment as Villa Fiorito 60 years ago. There the boys play soccer all day long. Here or there, the balloon is the vehicle to star in a film that few want to see.

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Shatal came to the town of Livingstone by accident, joining the coaching staff of Waves, a Zambian third division football club. As here, the institution is a civil association, has a president, and is not the property of a company, like many others. The field is grassless, uneven pasture with pits and the furthest from a scenario in which an idea associated with the ball stuck to the floor can be proposed.

Not only does the first team play there, but the rest of the time all the kids in the neighborhood use it. “Youth Camp”, is the name -in English- that the campicello has. The first thing Shatal thought of was changing the name. proposed “Land of the Malvinas Islands”something like “field of the Malvinas Islands”, a subtlety, due to the language, of planting a flag on land also usurped by the British Empire.

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The field that will be refurbished and will bear the name of Maradona and boys and soccer players with the Zambian flag and photos of Diego.  Photo courtesy of Martín Shatal

The field that will be refurbished and will bear the name of Maradona and boys and soccer players with the Zambian flag and photos of Diego. Photo courtesy of Martín Shatal

“When I arrived, sport was part of what it became. My main goal was to be able to promote, at least on my part, anti-colonialism because I already knew in advance that Zambia is a country that has been a British country there they are made to dance, they are aware that they have been made fun of, but at the same time unfortunately they have a kind of, it is not said well, a kind of Stockholm syndrome because they love the English even though England has made them crazy”explains as a preamble to explain why the “Malvinas Islands Ground” thing hasn’t thrived.

Education is private from the age of 8. In addition to working with the first team, Martín spends most of his day with young players who are about to play and dream of becoming footballers. The club is a very important support space and Maradona’s stories emerged in those daily talks. “I told them the story of Diego, who left Villa Fiorito, how he went to train and the boys clearly feel identified”says Shatal clarion.

After the first veto name proposal, the thumbs up came with that of “Land Diego Armando Maradona”. But it seemed to Shatal that baptism should be accompanied by something else, which shouldn’t be exhausted in the symbolic. The field, it has been said, is a disaster and despite this, the Onde coach favors good play despite the category in which he plays and the field in which he must be home.

This is how the Wawes field is today: when the gates change, the ground will be leveled and there will be grass, it will be called Diego Armando Maradona.  Photo: @Mertecoll

This is how the Wawes field is today: when the gates change, the ground will be leveled and there will be grass, it will be called Diego Armando Maradona. Photo: @Mertecoll

“It’s true that sometimes it benefits us because we’re used to playing in these conditions, but we also want to play football. This is our short- or medium-term goal. I contacted him and we told him we should find a way to improve it ».he recalled and the next move was to budget with the construction companies to get a number and see where they stood.

The reforms seemed endless: to have grass you had to bring black clay, change posts and put in good goals and other aspects of a longer list. All added to the peso exchange, almost a million. Almost in parallel, Santiago Maratea has proposed a collection to reach 20 million dollars. Its scope is not the same as the influencer, but something similar has been proposed, albeit without trust or personal five percent gain. Next to the Diego Armando Maradona Ground poster, there will be another one with the names of all the people who have donated.

“The pitch is not just for the club. The club plays and it is true that the venue trains every day and the weeks in between. But it is very important to underline that more than in the club they play every day, many children there claim that they The only way to get out of the neighborhood. The only way to socialize, or not the only way but the best and perhaps the most fun, is to play football. And what better way to do that than having a good playing field? that it is an investment that can be very useful for the kids, it is the healthiest sport in the world”.analyze Shatal.

On that field, David took his first steps –deividin English- Molina and ended up playing and ended up playing in the First Division for another club in the same category as the Waves.

live negotiations

To make everything transparent and clear, Shatal came up with something: negotiations with the construction company were made live from his Twitch account so that anyone wanted to see it and even interact with messages.

“The negotiation with the construction company was live. I’m realizing a new idea, it’s difficult to innovate when it seems that everything is invented. That negotiation has become the content of my platforms: everything that has to do with making money , negotiating costs is He Lives We went from $3,000 to $2,100 traded live with an average of 500 viewers for an hour and a half duration of the meeting.to celebrate.

“We will build the pitch and we will have the best pitch in the city. It’s incredible and exciting because we will also buy the bus which is one of the main expenses the club has.”enumerate and all this will soon be tangible: the construction company will take about 12 days to complete the work and the vehicle is an immediate operation.

It remains to evaluate how to transfer the money from the account that was collected, based in Argentina, to Zambia and avoid the minimum of charges that will add to tax issues. But it will all happen before Shatal leaves Zambia. “I’m going to Ghana for another project and then to work in Spain. Next year I’m going back to Argentina and my idea is to go back to Zambia once a year”he says, like someone who puts things in order before leaving.

“What I considered when I set foot in Zambia was to try to leave an Argentine legacy. Today the club president told me: we will die, but the pitch will continue to be there and people’s lives will continue to be changed. Football is giant”closes, with the satisfaction of having left a mark in the heart of Africa.

Source: Clarin

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