Eusébio and 1960s protest humour

Sunday, January 5, 2014, 22:04
Eusébio, the iconic footballer from Mozambique, who played for Benfica and the Portuguese national team in the 1960s, died in the early hours of this morning, Sunday 5th January 2014. On hearing this I was reminded of a 1960s protest joke against the government of the dictator Salazar.

When the American Bridge Company finished building the first bridge across the River Tejo in Lisbon, so the joke went, the company president sent a cable to the Portuguese government saying:

"What name shall we put on the inauguration plaque?"
"Why, the name of the most famous Portuguese of all!" the dictator's representative cabled back.
"Do you spell Eusébio with an 's' or a 'z'?" the Americans responded.

The bridge, of course, was inaugurated on 6th August 1966 with the name Ponte Salazar, which it kept until the Carnation Revolution of 1974. Now it is known as the Ponte 25 de Abril to commemorate Portugal's peaceful liberation from dictatorship.

Wouldn't it have been wonderful if the joke had become reality, though; if that iconic footballer, the first black African to become a really international football star, had been commemorated instead?

I think the Ponte Eusébio da Silva Ferreira would have sounded great.

Rest in Peace Eusébio!

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