Since we have been discussing South American dictatorship and the role of soccer in South American politics, I thought it would be interesting to share this great documentary titled The Two Escobars. It is the stories of Andrés Escobar, a defender on the Colombian national team in the 1994 World Cup, and Pablo Escobar, a Colombian drug lord who financed the development of Colombian soccer through cocaine trafficking in his Medellín cartel. Interestingly, Pablo owned the soccer team that Andrés represented and he supported Andrés in his ascension as a popular figure in Colombia. After Andrés conceded an own goal against the United States, Colombia lost the match and failed to advance past the group stages. When Andrés played down the loss by stating that it was “not the end of the world”, he was shot to death in Medellín. Humberto de la Calle, the Colombian president at the time responded saying, “Colombia’s problem is that football is no longer a sport, it seems, but a matter of life and death.”
Thus, the film goes on to delve into the complex relationships between politics, sport, and crime. I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary style investigation of this intersection of sport and national politics portrayed on a global stage through the World Cup. To learn more about Colombian Soccer, there is a great article by Courtney Ginn on the Soccer Politics Blog detailing these national issues and offering great insights into the state of affairs at the time.