The Guardian lists a bunch of furrin terms used in football, including panna, used in Holland to refer to the nutmeg and, apparently, especially in Surinamese Dutch. It would be interesting to know where it came from. The only remotely related word I can find in SIL’s brilliant Suriname languages site is the Carib pena, which means “door” and “black man”. There are said to be only 1,200 Carib speakers left, and it seems unlikely to me that they played a major role in the development of Surinamese football. I’d ask Frank Rijkaard, but I suspect he has other things on his mind this afternoon. It would be nice to think that it came from the Buddhist term for wisdom, pañña, but Buddhism has not to my knowledge produced any great players, despite the publicity following Stan Collymore’s experimentation with meditation.

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