“You paint your face, you go to war and you kill your rivals.”
Not the words of a phrase from Zulu; but, the words of an Argentine footballer, Dario Dubois. A defender on the pitch, a musician off it; a man who wrote his own rules, he covered up the sponsorship on his playing shirt with duck tape, and painted his face with corpse paint as a tactic to intimidate the opposition.
Dubois played for South American sides, Victoriano Arenas and Deportivo Paraguay, but his man passion seemed to lie with rock band, Tribute Rock.
“I don’t like playing [football]. I do it because it’s competitive and I get to spend my time training…
Even though I don’t like football, I am a fan of Midland.”
Dubois had a turbulent time with the authorities, his club’s hierarchy and opposition; often the focal point of an issue, such as covering sponsorship badges with mud due to his anger at them not paying a promised victory bonus. In addition to this, the defender once spat in an opposition director’s face following an alleged bribe to help the opposing team win.
Although somewhat seemingly over the top reactions, Dubois’ moral compass appeared to be pointing in the right direction.
The sad nature of Dubois and his confrontational way led to a bad dispute with the the Argentine Football Association (AFA). The organisation decided his corpse paint was creating a poor image for the fourth division of Argentine football, and following a bad collision in a league match in 2002, Dubois had a haemorrhage in his right ear and ended up in hospital.
Upon the defender’s release from hospital, his outspoken comments on the organisation cost him later down the line:
“The AFA are all a bunch of rats. Luckily I’m ok, but I almost died on the pitch and they did nothing to help”
The damage was done; two years after the incident, Dubois damaged his cruciate ligament playing football. But the defender could not afford surgery, and when asked the AFA for help, the financial assistance was declined – his career was over.
The example of such an individual making his, somewhat peculiar, yet perfectly acceptable rules within the game – regularly denouncing poisonous characteristics of corruption, and an ignorance of sponsorships at lower league levels – cost Dubois his career. His refusal to succumb to such contamination in football, and express himself the way he felt was right should act as an inspiration to the game, rather than an ‘oddball’ defying greed within football.
The saddest part is that four years later after his retirement, Dubois was ambushed and robbed by gunmen whilst travelling with his girlfriend. He was shot, and passed away two weeks later.
The passing of Dubious in 2008 set a legacy of defiance in the face of individuals making the beautiful game less and less beautiful. The Argentine rocker who did not like football, yet led by example in how it should be enjoyed: expression, passion and honesty.