Guatemala scores a football philately first

Here on Football Philately we've covered a few football philately firsts such as the very first football stamps, the first stamp to show someone playing football and the first football club to have it's own stamp. But who was the first named player to appear on a stamp? We're not bothered about some random image of an unspecified footballer playing the game but an actual footballer. Just who, because of his contribution to the game, was the first footballer to be featured on a stamp?

After much research I can reveal that, to the best of my knowledge, the honour of being the first footballer featured on a stamp is shared by two Guatemalan footballers. In 1955 the Guatemalan postal authorities issued a five piece set to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Guatemalan Football three years earlier in 1952. Why the 50th anniversary was commemorated three years late I don't know. The three 4c stamps all featured the same image of footballer Mario Camposeco whilst the 10c value featured a chap by the name of Carlos Aguirre Matheu.

Mario Camposeco was captain and all round legend of his local football team Club Xelaju or Xela as they are more commonly known. Born in Guatemala's second city of Quetzaltenango he excelled at sports representing his state and country at both football and basketball. During the 1940's he played for and captained his home town team Xela to ten, yes ten, consecutive state-level titles. In June 1951 he scored an hattrick for Xela during a big game and so secured an important win. He was offered, as part of the post-game celebrations, a flight over the city. Tragedy struck and the plane crashed due to mechanical failure. There were no survivors.

In honour of their fallen hero his club Xela added his name to theirs and since 1951 have been known as Club Social y Deportivo Xelajú Mario Camposeco, or simply Xelajú MC. They also renamed their stadium and again since 1951 the club has played it's home games at the Estadio Mario Camposeco.

Mario Campseco - Guatemala and Club Xelaju

Carlos Aguirre Matheu was a pioneer of Guatemalan football. As a young man in the late 1890's he studied in England and fell in love with the game of football. On his return to Guatemala he helped found on 23rd August 1902 the Guatemala Foot-Ball Club.  Less than a month later the first game of football in Guatemala took place. Members of Guatemala FC were assigned on the toss of a coin to either the Whites or the Blues and so on 14th September 1902 the historic first game took place between the White and Blue elevens of Guatemala FC. Carlos Aguirre Matheu was captain of the Whites and after a goal-less first half he scored a goal which helped the White XI to a 3-2 victory.

Carlos Aguirre Matheu - Pioneer of Guatemalan Football
Golden Jubilee - 50 years of football in Guatemala

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