Erasmus Sport’s Gaby Dijkstra had the mascot designed for the 2014 European Universities Games, held in Rotterdam. “Roffa is a studenty, tough-looking lion, which is why he symbolises Rotterdam student sports. Back in 2014 he joined in all the activities. He posed with all the big shots and was the official face of the EU Games.”

Chess tournament

After the EU Games, Erasmus Sport adopted Roffa as a mascot for Rotterdam’s student sports clubs. Says Dijkstra: “Roffa came along on trips to all sorts of major sporting events. He even visited a chess tournament once.”

But in 2017 tragedy struck. Dijkstra went on a six-month trip to South America. When she returned to the sports centre last August, she found that the lion suit had disappeared. “My colleagues and I looked everywhere for him for months, but we haven’t been able to find him at the sports centre. We know he wasn’t lent to a club. We honestly haven’t the foggiest what happened to Roffa.”


Dijkstra is upset about the mascot’s disappearance, because she was quite fond of it. On one occasion she even darned Roffa, using needle and thread. “It’s so cool when our mascot is walking around at, say, the match that gets Antibarbari the title, or when he interviews the Rector on the university’s Foundation Day.”

Could it be that Roffa is being held ransom by one of the clubs affiliated with Erasmus Sport, or by an umbrella sports organisation from another student town? “It’s possible, but I think I would have heard from them by now if that were the case,” says Dijkstra. “Generally they want something in return for returning the object.” She is not sure she is willing to accept a quid-pro-quo deal now that a year has passed since Roffa’s disappearance. “If Roffa is still in one piece, make me your best proposal!”