2013 Madureira 'Che Guevara 50 Years' Shirts
(Posted on 17/11/14)
Occasions when politics and football shirts mix are rare - especially in the UK where arguably the nearest we've come to it in recent years is this season's Rangers' Union Jack-adorned third shirt.
However one superb example of a political leader appearing as part of a kit design cropped up towards the end of last year at the small Brazilian team Madureira Esporte Clube.
The club's rather smart claret home jersey and stunning red, white and blue goalkeeper shirt (fashioned to resembe the Cuban flag) both feature the now iconic portrait of the renowned Cuban guerrilla leader, Marxist and policitian Che Guevara, as originally photographed by Alberto Korda. The distinctive beret-clad image of Che went on to become a favourite poster graphic for students worldwide in the 60s and 70s and is famous still today; in fact Diego Maradona has a tattoo of Che on his right arm.
Madureira who are based in a Rio de Janiero suburb and play their football in Brazil's third division, originally used the strip only for their succesful Brazilian seven-a-side league team but the response to the innovative and bold kit has been so positive it is being considered as a first team outfit.
A native Argentinian, Che Guevara fought alongside Fidel Castro in the late 1950s Cuban Revolution as well as being active in various political and revolutionary struggles in Africa and South America throughout the following decade. He was eventually captured and executed in Bolivia in 1967 but remains a figure of inspiration to many societies around the world today.
But how did one of the most recognised political icons of the 20th Century and hero of the people end up on a football shirt?!
The shirt marked the 50th anniversary of the team's visit to Cuba in
1963 - a time when football in Brazil was held in high esteem following the nation's recent success in the World Cup and fans were desperate to see any Brazilian football magic they could. The team won all five matches it played in Cuba and met keen football fan Che (then Cuban Minister for Industry) who had his photo taken with the squad after their final match. It is this historic trip and meeting that is commemorated with the club's special Che shirts.
As well as featuring Che's famous beret-clad features on the front of the shirt, a smaller version appears on the reverse, just below the collar, alongside text marking the anniversary and including one of Che's most memorable mottos 'Hasta la Victoria Siempre' or in English, 'Until Victory Always' - an appropriate mantra for any football team!
To buy the shirts for just Â£42.99 click here