'Big White Jew' Leads African Nation of Guinea-Bissau in Maccabiah

Ex-Pat Team Makes Unlikely Play for Jewish Gold

Unlikliest Team: The Maccabiah delegation from Guinea-Bissau gets asked a lot of questions. The most common is: Where?
guinea-bissau maccabi
Unlikliest Team: The Maccabiah delegation from Guinea-Bissau gets asked a lot of questions. The most common is: Where?

By Haaretz

Published July 22, 2013.
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Andrew G. Szabo gets asked a lot of questions about his delegation at the 2013 Maccabiah games − “Where is that?” being the main one.

It’s a fair enough question, really, for Guinea-Bissau − the country Szabo and his nine teammates are competing for − is not to be confused, as Wikipedia helpfully points out, with Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, or Papua New Guinea − all of which are totally different countries that did not have any badminton, basketball or lawn bowling players marching into Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on Thursday evening.

To say Szabo and his teammates are “from” the tiny West Africa republic that sits between Senegal and Guinea and is better known for its coup d’etats, constant political volatility and international cocaine smuggling than for either hoops prowess or shul attendance would be something of an overstatement.

But there are a handful of Jews who do business, have investments and hold residency permits − and it’s these folks who decided it was about time the country, a member of the Africa Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries and the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, also became a member of the Maccabiah family.

Szabo registered as a Guinea Bissauan, leading his team-of-one to win a bronze in badminton, an accomplishment that led the speaker of the Guinea Bissau parliament to publicly thank the “big white Jew who made us proud.”

For more go to Haaretz


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