Curaçao’s largest athletic stadium, Sentro Deportivo Kòrsou, is named after him.
Ergilio, also known as Orilio, Pedro Hato (1926 – 2003) was born and raised in Otrobanda. His mother’s last name was Hatot, but the Civil Registry couldn’t place the name, so they decided to spell Ergilio’s last name “Hato”.
I googled and googled… there’s very little information on our legendary goalkeeper. His biography “Ergilio Hato: Simpel, Sierlijk, Sensationeel” (“Ergilio Hato: Simple, Elegant, Sensational”) by Valdemar Marcha and Nancy van der Wal isn’t even listed on Amazon 😦 And Funtrivia.com misstates that our airport was named after him.
I googled again and stumbled upon this photo of Hato spinning a soccer ball, thanks to Peter Nijhuis and his 2003 blog post on CasaSpider. (Peter, too, was frustrated by the lack of online info, so he decided to read Hato’s biography and blog about it in Dutch — I translate below)
Hato was always an avid soccer player. Back in the day, school yards were set up as soccer fields and monks encouraged playing before school, during breaks, and after school.
Hato (19 in 1945) would’ve been drafted for military service had the Curaçao Soccer Federation not hosted a large international competition with teams from Colombia, Aruba, Suriname and the Netherlands (Feyenoord) in 1945. Curaçao’s “Dream Team” delivered a clean sweep.
Feyenoord came in second. A huge disappointment for the Dutch.
And a *HUGE* testament to Curaçao’s innate talent… despite its small size and limited resources.
Hato became known as the best goalkeeper in Latin America and the Caribbean… and took the Netherlands Antilles team to the Olympics in 1952 (they lost against Turkey).
According to this source, Ergilio led Curaçao’s team to a Bronze medal at the Pan American Games in 1955.
Hato’s international notoriety afforded him several lucrative offers to play professional soccer internationally, but he turned them down in favor of staying true to his values: he pursued a career at the ALM (Antillean Luchtvaart Maatschappij – Antillean Airlines), raised a family, and played in his local club, Jong Holland.
Though he lived up to his many nicknames on the field: Pantera Negra (Black Panter), Vliegende Vogel (Flying Bird) and Man van Elastiek (Elastic Man), he always remained hard-working, humble and down-to-earth…
A true reflection of our core values.
(More to come after I read “Ergilio Hato: Simpel, Sierlijk, Sensationeel”!)