After scoring a scorcher of a goal in the dying minutes of Man United’s 2-0 win over West Brom, Robin van Persie revealed a shirt bearing the message, “RIP Tchuna, We will never forget.” The rumour mill picked it up instantly and Twitter was abuzz with news that the message was meant for the unfortunate victim of the brutal rape in Delhi a few days ago. It is still not known whether this is true, since the name of the girl was never made public and the media referred to her as “Damini” or “Nirbhaya.”
Another explanation put forth is that Tchuna was the name of a Dutch linesman who was “kicked to death” by a bunch of teenagers in a youth game a few days back. However, if the Daily Mail is to be believed, the real name of the departed linesman was Richard Nieuwenhuizen, a 41-year-old officiating in a match his own son was part of.
Mystery still surrounds RVP’s cryptic message, and only he can shed more light on this. In January of 2012, RVP had revealed a t-shirt bearing the message “Happy 91st Opa Wim”, believed to be a tribute to his grandfather.
Update: (12:12 AM IST, 30 dec 2012) – According to the Dutch media, Tchuna is a friend of Robin van Persie’s who passed away in Rotterdam yesterday. Sky Sports later confirmed the news. It appears the mystery has been solved.