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23 Nov 2007 10:54
It is, almost literally, football heaven. In Argentina football fans take their allegiance to the club very seriously.
But now the fans of the Boca Juniors club can take their allegiance all the way to the grave—because a part of a peaceful cemetery, about 30km south of Buenos Aires, has been opened exclusively for Boca fans.
The idea was born because of the undying devotion of fans to their club.
“Many Boca fans were leaving instructions to their families to scatter their ashes on the playing field of La Bombonera [the “candy box” as the Boca football stadium in the city of Buenos Aires is known].
Now fans can buy their own burial plots at the official Boca cemetery, in Parque Iraola, where the grass has been transplanted from La Bombonera’s field.
Fans can find a final resting place among Boca stars of the past who have already been reburied in this cemetery. They include the goalkeepers Juan Estrada, who played for the club in the 1930s, and Julio Elias Musimessi, a 1950s ace.
A fountain crowned with a shield in the blue and yellow colours of the club guards the entrance to the section, where 3 000 plots have been set aside for die-hard Boca fans. And on blue and yellow memorial walls small stars are inscribed with the names of fans and football players who now lie here.
“Boca fans are very passionate,” said Salvestrini. He added: “It is an eternal love. Tomorrow we can all together cheer our club from heaven.”
His words came from a chant that is roared by tens of thousands during weekend games at La Bombonera: “Even death can’t separate us, from heaven I will cheer you on.”
Football is an all-embracing passion in Argentina and even once dominant figures such as the president, Juan Peron, and his beloved wife, “Evita”, appeared to have started to fade from public consciousness, to be replaced by more recent icons such as the former Boca ace Diego Maradona, considered by many to have been the greatest football player in the world.
The Boca cemetery has made the revered Maradona a gift of a plot at Parque Iraola, but he has made no public comment on this unusual present.—Â
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