Rest in peace Oscar Montironi

Oscar Montironi, standing third from left

Rest in peace Oscar Montironi

The sad news fell like a whip on the back of the Haitian football family Tuesday morning February 12, 2019, Argentine footballer Oscar Montironi former player of the Violette Athletic Club has died.

Indeed, Oscar Montironi, ex-VAC midfielder, died during the evening of Monday February 11th. So he died in his adopted country.

Arrived in Haiti in 1975 with his compatriots Barionuevo and Ricato, Montironi showed his talents during his first outing at the Sylvio Cator stadium during the Olympic football tournament against the Aigles Noirs that featured the famous Jean claude Désir aka Tom Pouce. Violette won the game on the score of 2-1 thanks to two goals by Ricato.

Montironi was decisive a few weeks later during a game against the famous New York Cosmos at the national stadium. The Cosmos lineup included Brazilian star Pele, Chilean Hugo Sotil and Uruguayan Masnik. An armada of world class players.

Violette aligned a team that included Philippe Vorbe, Pierre Bayonne, Ernst Jean-Joseph, Frantzy Mathieu, Raphael Pierre, Argentinian Oscar Montironi, Ricato and Barionuevo. A dream team that baffled the American Cosmos led by King Pelé. A spectacular meeting in a crazy stadium.

It was a very competitive match won 2-1 by Violette, thanks to two goals by Oscar Montironi. But the big star of this evening was not King Pelé. It was rather Pierre Bayonne who wiped out the Cosmos defense to setup a penalty that Oscar Montironi was going to net.

After the match, Pelé told the media that “the # 8 Haitian (Pierre Bayonne) is a talented striker, a world class player.”

Another outstanding player during that game was Argentinian Oscar Montironi, who scored both goals and later took part in Violette’s 75-76 victory in the Pradel Cup. This spectacular competition was also animated by a dazzling Victory team that represented Violette’s main challenge. During that season, the immortal coach Franck Civil had launched a group of young talents such as Raphael Alexis, Gerald Jean, Serge “Missolo” Crispin, Nono Jean-Baptiste, Guy Allen, Rodrigue Carrasco, Garry Perrin, Jean-Michel Malenkov, Gerald Vilain, Ronald Pun and the late Reginald Viélot. What a treat that was for football fans!

For the decisive match, because Philippe Vorbe and Pierre Bayonne were injured, Victory was widely favorite. But, led by a talented Montironi, Violette outclassed the charming Victory team by 3-0. The goals scored by Carlo Brévil, Raphael Pierre and Roger Saint-Vil.

Thus, in 1975, Violette recruited a trio of Argentines in preparation for its participation in the CONCACAF Club Championship: midfielder Montironi, defender Barionuevo and striker Ricato, who scored twice against Aigles Noirs. as part Argentinian trio made their debut at the national stadium.

After a premature elimination in the CONCACAF club championship caused by a gross federal blunder, “a calculated error”, the Violette Athletic Club could not maintain center-forward Ricato in its squad. However they kept Barionuevo and Montironi who participated in the 75-76 Pradel Cup Championship which they won.

Oscar Montironi is part of the first contingent of foreign footballers who landed in Haiti in the mid 70s. A move that raised  the level of the show and pleased Haitian football fans. Each match between Violette and Victory in the 75-76 season was exciting as both team featured a pair of Argentinians. Barionuevo and Montironi for Violette, Gusman and Aguire in the Victory camp.

This new concept of importing players by Violette and extended by Victory brought a lot of excitement in Haitian football circles. With a roster full of stars like Pierre Bayonne, Ernst Jean-Joseph, Philippe Vorbe, Frantzy Mathieu, and reinforced by the Argentinian trio Ricato – Montironi – Barionuevo, The Violette 75-76 team, led by legendary coach Antoine Tassy (Zoupim), was technically well equipped to win the CONCACAF Club Championship. But the dream was cut short by the Haitian Football Federation which was categorically opposed to the idea of having foreign players although the experiment was supported by the public and the media. This led to the brutal elimination of Violette in 1975 in the first round of the CONCACAF’s most important club tournament.

Unlike his countryman Barionuevo returned to Argentina after the 75-76 season, Montironi remained in Haiti where he settled and married a Haitian woman. It was in his adopted country that on Monday, February 11th he passed away. He will be remembered for his talents, combativeness and his fair play.

May peace accompany the soul of the late Oscar Montironi until the great day of resurrection. Long live his family, his former Argentine teammates and the Violette Athletic Club.

Raymond Jean-Louis

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