Malaysians, fellow Argentinians and Diplomats mourn Maradona’s passing

Malaysians, fellow Argentinians and Diplomats mourn Maradona’s passing

KUALA LUMPUR: The passing of Argentinian football legend Diego Armando Maradona is being mourned by the football fraternity and world leaders, as well as Malaysians, fellow citizens of the footballer, and foreign diplomats in Malaysia.

Cuba’s Ambassador to Malaysia, Ibete Fernández Hernandez, described Maradona as a dear and faithful friend of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, and the Cuban people.

“When Maradona visited Cuba for the first time in July 1987 to receive the 1986 Most Outstanding Latin American Athlete Award, he declared at that time that Commander in Chief Fidel Castro was one of his idols.

“Maradona always expressed admiration for Fidel and the Cuban Revolution. He a caring and just man that will always be remembered,” she said in a brief statement via WhatsApp to Bernama.

Hernandez said Maradona had interviewed Castro for an Argentine television show hosted by Maradona, ‘La Noche del 10’, which was aired for one season in 2005.

Meanwhile, Argentina’s Ambassador to Malaysia Manuel Balaguer Salas described his fellow countryman as a unique and outstanding football player that made Argentina a well-known country across the globe.

“Argentina is in mourning, and honours him. He brought joy and pride to our people,” he said.

Argentina’s government on Wednesday declared three days of national mourning for the death of Maradona.

“The President of the Nation will decree three days of national mourning from the day (of his death),” said the statement from the office of the presidency.

Maradona, 60, died Wednesday due to cardiorespiratory arrest at his home in the Tigre district on the northern outskirts of the capital Buenos Aires.

The former star player, and coach – most recently of the Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata football team –underwent surgery following a stroke in early November.

Another fellow countryman of the star player, Maureen Clarke – who is a batik fabric designer residing in Malaysia – said Maradona was an idol to most of the Argentinian people.

“He brought us joy, made us cry, and was a great Ambassador of Argentina to the world. An icon and legend is gone; Argentina cries for the loss and celebrate his legacy,” she said.

Reminiscing the victory of Maradona, who is best known as the captain who helped guide Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, Clarke said that many were attached in front of the TV watching him play in the (World Cup) matches.

“And all the other footballers that were part of the team, namely Claudio Paul Caniggia, Sergio Javier Goycochea, and Gabriel Omar Batistuta, and so many others, had the privilege to play together,” she said.

Meanwhile, a celebrity photographer based in Malaysia, Manimala Krishnan, said she happened to meet Maradona during the launching of a new outlet of Boby and Maradona Gold Diamond Jewellery, a chain of gold stores from India, at Nu Sentral mall in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, in 2015.

She said the legendary footballer managed to identify her in the crowded mall when she waved at him and – despite tight security – agreed to take a selfie with her, which she shared on her social media platform, garnering many likes and comments.

“People always refer me as a celebrity photographer but today I can proudly say that I am the real celebrity photographer,” said Manimala, who regards the legendary footballer as her icon.

Back in 1982, the late, great Diego Maradona wowed 25,000 at the Merdeka Stadium in a friendly match between Selangor Invitation and Boca Juniors.

And in November last year, a t-shirt of the Argentinian football legend was among the items auctioned in a live silent auction organised by the Latin Women’s Association of Malaysia (LWAM)  at the Latin Ball 2019 at a hotel here.