South American Vice President, 60, Picks Himself in Pro Soccer Match

  • Suriname’s Vice President, 60, picked himself to play in a professional soccer match.
  • Ronnie Brunswijk started up-front for Inter Moengotapoe, which he owns, in the CONCACAF League.
  • The former rebel leader couldn’t help his team win. Moengotapoe lost 6-0.

Imagine the scene: Kamala Harris playing for Inter Miami in the MLS, or Boris Johnson stepping out alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United.

Well, that’s basically what happened in the South American nation of Suriname on Tuesday, as the country’s vice president picked himself to play for Inter Moengotapoe in one of the continent’s biggest soccer competitions. 

Ronnie Brunswijk, who is the club’s owner, laced up and took to the field as a striker as his team faced off against Olimpia in the the CONCACAF League, South America’s equivalent of Europe’s Europa League.

The 60-year-old even gave himself the captain’s armband for the last 16 match, which was played at the Ronnie Brunswijkstadion, which is, you guessed it, named after the man himself.

Things didn’t go to plan, however, as the politician lasted just 54 minutes before subbing himself off, at which point the team was 3-0 down.

According to the Metro, when he left the field, one of the commentators covering the game said: “Now we can say we’re 11 vs 11.”

Brunswijk’s departure didn’t do all that much for Inter, however, which conceded three more goals before the final whistle to lose 6-0. 

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After the match, footage then appeared to show Brunswijk entering the opposition dressing home and handing out wads of cash to Olimpia’s players.

Brunswijk has been Suriname’s vice president since July 2020, having previously founded and led the rebel group Jungle Commando – which sought to free Suriname from military dictatorship – during the Surinamese Interior War in the late 1980s.

In 1999, he was accused him of cocaine trafficking by the Dutch government and was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison. Then, in 2005, he was suspended by Suriname’s national football association after threatening a player on the pitch with a handgun.

A New York Times profile from earlier this year described him as “an elite paratrooper, a soccer player, a wanted bank robber, a guerrilla leader, a gold baron and a father to at least 50 children during his lifetime.”

Inter takes on Olimpia again the second-leg of its CONCACAF League last-16 tie on September 29.

Brunswijk is not expected to play. 


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