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Argentina's die-hard soccer fans take zeal to grave

Written by: Staff

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, Apr 8 (Reuters) Many fans of Argentina's most popular soccer team, Boca Juniors, pledge eternal devotion to the club. And with new Boca caskets on sale, they can put their money where their mouths are.

Die-hard fans can buy their own coffins decorated in Boca colors and symbols for between 2,000 pesos and 2,500 pesos (650 to 800 dollars), a small fortune for many of Boca's working-class followers.

''The coffin lets me express my feelings and show what happened to me during my life. And maybe it will bring a smile to someone's face who remembers when we went to see a match together,'' said Hernan Marini, who works with a funeral home that offers the caskets to prospective corpses.

Marini, 24, is buying a blue coffin etched with the team's shield on its lid -- the subtlest of three official Boca Juniors caskets made in a factory outside Buenos Aires.

The idea is not entirely original. One of Boca's soccer field chants says: ''The day I die, I want my coffin, painted blue and gold, like my heart.'' The coffin comes in two, flashier versions, one in a bright, solid blue and the other which is blue with a painted yellow banner ''draped'' on the outside. Both sport the Boca shield.

Marini said yesterday he didn't want to go overboard with the colors and symbols.

''I didn't want people to enter the chapel and be surprised or take it as a joke,'' he said.

Reuters PR GC0919

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