Suriname's vice president sets soccer age record in self-named stadium

Suriname’s vice president sets soccer age record in self-named stadium

In the strangest sports news of the year, the vice president of Suriname is now the oldest soccer player to debut in an international game.

Also a former bodyguard, guerrilla fighter and convicted drug trafficker, 60-year-old Ronnie Brunswijk debuted for Inter Moengotapoe – a team he owns – in a game last Tuesday.

But it doesn’t stop there. He’s also the team’s captain, playing his debut match in a stadium he built titled, wait for it…‘Ronnie Brunswijkstadion’.

Image: Indian Express

As a father to over 50 children, Brunswijk leads a busy life between his position as vice president of Suriname and business ventures.

While his team lost 0-6 to Olimpia of Honduras, Brunswijk appeared to be in good spirits, entering the opposing team’s locker room and handing out wads of cash to his competitors.

Sadly, his soccer glory didn’t last long.

On Saturday CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) suspended both teams that played after it announced it was making a formal investigation.

The football governing body said that “…serious breaches of integrity rules occurred after the match”, seemingly referring to the video.

The statement added that both Olimpia and Inter Moengotapoe have been disqualified from this year’s CONCACAF League with “immediate effect”.

CONCACAF also banned Brunswijk from participating in “any capacity” in its competitions for three years and said other individuals could also be sanctioned in connection with the case.

This isn’t the only time he’s been suspended during his soccer venture.

He was suspended for five years because he threatened players with a handgun during a match in 2005 but the suspension was eventually retracted due to lack of evidence.

In June 2012, he was once again suspended for one year because he behaved violently towards the referee and a player in a football match.

Beside’s causing a stir in the sports world, Brunswijk also has a shady past.

In 1999, he was convicted of trafficking cocaine in the Netherlands. A year later, he was found guilty of the same crime in France. He was sentenced in absentia to 8 years in prison in the Netherlands and 10 in France.

However, Brunswijk is safe in Suriname as the country does not extradite its citizens.

He began his criminal career as a bank robber in the 1980s after being discharged from the army. At the time he was leading a guerrilla group against the Suriname government and distributed funds he stole among the people, earning him the nickname the “Robin Hood of Suriname”.


By the 1990s his guerrilla fighters signed a peace treaty with the government and were incorporated into the army. Soon after, he was charged for his role in drug trafficking.

He has denied the past allegations, claiming his wealth comes from timber and gold mining concessions.