Maradona’s coffin reaches presidential palace...

Dhaka, Saturday   16 January 2021

Maradona’s coffin reaches presidential palace

 Sports Desk

 Published: 07:48 PM, 26 November 2020  

Maradona’s coffin reaches presidential palace

Maradona’s coffin reaches presidential palace

Diego Maradona’s coffin has arrived at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires for a period of lying in state, TV reports showed, following the death of the 60-year-old Argentine football legend on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people were already lining up to pay their respects to Maradona, who died while recovering from a brain operation, the images from sport channels TyC and ESPN showed on Thursday.

Argentinians were plunged into grief by the death of the country’s favourite son, a sublimely gifted sporting hero they saw as “the most human of gods”.

The news fell like a hammer blow to a nation beaten down by months of economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, but one where football is seen as a panacea for all ills.

At 10pm local time on Wednesday, Buenos Aires exploded in cheers, horns, sirens and lights for the man who famously wore the number 10, after a viral social media message called for “one last applause”.

The homage resounded throughout the night in all the neighbourhoods of the capital, the AFP news agency reported.

At the Diego Maradona stadium, home to the Argentinos Juniors club where Maradona played as a child and made his debut as a professional player, fireworks were launched as a large crowd flooded into the field to the cry of “Maradooo, Maradooo”.

Earlier, fans searching for a place to grieve gravitated towards the Obelisk landmark in downtown Buenos Aires – and, of course, the Bombonera, the steep-sided cauldron of a stadium that is home to Boca Juniors, where Maradona’s genius was forged.

“I can’t believe it. It’s incredible. One thinks one gets through any storm, but no, everyone ends up being mortal. It feels like a bad dream. A joke,” Francisco Salaverry, 28, told AFP.

“Today’s a bad day. A very sad day for all Argentines,” President Alberto Fernandez summed up in an interview with sport channel TyC, after declaring three days of national mourning.

All around the city, the mourning had already begun as fans stood forlornly beside banners in homage to the legend, showing Maradona in his dashing prime.

Many of the banners simply said D10S, a play on the Spanish word “dios” for “God” that includes Maradona’s jersey number.