Dominique Colonna (France)
Portraits of legendary footballers
First broadcast date
Dominique Colonna, deeply attached to his land of Corsica, was the goalkeeper of the great 'Stade de Reims' during the doubled in 1958 or the European Cup final, lost against Real Madrid. He played 13 games for France between 1957 and 1961.
COPEAM - Coproduction
- France Bleu Frequenza Mora - Coproduction
Sport and games
Credits / Cast
- De Gentile Michel - Journalist
- France - North East - Reims
Dominique Colonna began playing football as goalkeeper for Union Sportive du Cortenais, one of the oldest Corsican clubs, founded in 1908, progressing in the regional division. Born on September 4th 1928, he left Corsica at 20 to follow his brother who, like many Corsicans, left to continue his studies on the continent. Both brothers went to the ancient and prestigious medical school in Montpellier, and that choice determined Colonna’s professional debut: he signed his first contract in 1948 with the Stade Olympique de Montpellier. The club, which had been among the first to compete in the French professional championship in 1932, had only been back in the first division for two years. In 1949 it was relegated again. Colonna then joined Stade Français-Red Star, formed in 1948 by the merger of the two major Parisian clubs to avoid Red Star’s relegation. The merger, however, was short-lived: it was dissolved in 1951 when the club dropped to the second division. Colonna and his teammates fought their way back into the elite in 1952 by winning the second division championship. The goalkeeper left Stade de France in 1955 when the club was yet again relegated.
His career took on a new dimension with the best French clubs of the day. First with OGC Nice, who had won the championship in 1951 and 1952, he won another title in 1956. The following year he joined Stade de Reims, French champions in 1955 and finalists in the 1956 European Cup. In his first season with Reims, Colonna won the league and championship double. He played the final of European Cup in 1959, with Reims facing the Real Madrid of Di Stefano and Raymond Kopa (2-0 defeat). The French public went wild for the Reims team, one of the few satisfactions in French sport on the international scene during this period. Colonna was again champion of France with Stade de Reims in 1960 and 1962. In 1957 his good performances opened the doors of the French team. He was one of the players selected for the 1958 World Cup, but he didn’t play in any of the matches which won France third place, its best performance since the first World Cup in 1930. He nevertheless ended his career with 13 selections.
In 1963 he became head of the national team of Cameroon, which had just obtained both its independence and its affiliation to the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA). Colonna, dubbed the "white mamou” (tribal chief) was one of the first Europeans to put into practice on the football field the policy of cooperation which the former colonial power wanted in many other areas, so as to maintain its influence. It should be noted however that although he was a "white witch", unlike others he became a long-term fixture, remaining in Cameroon until 1972. He devoted himself to training goal-keepers and coached the Indomitable Lions for the first African Nations’ Cup in 1970. For several years he was also technical advisor to various Central African States.
In 1995, with the Corsican journalist Pierre Cangioni, he served for a year as vice-chairman of Olympique de Marseille, demoted to the second division after the corruption scandal involving Bernard Tapie. Dominique Colonna then went back Corsica to which he had always remained attached, although his career as player and coach had kept him away.
Paul Dietschy, David-Claude Kemo-Keimbou, Le football et l’Afrique, Paris, EPA, 2008, 383 p.
Pascal Grégoire Boutreau Tony Verbicaro, Stade de Reims. Une histoire sans fin, Saint-Etiennne, ed. des Cahiers intempestifs, 2001, 384p.
Michel Oreggia, OGC Nice 100 ans de passion, Nice, Giletta, 2004, 199 p.