Colombian football legend Delio Gamboa 1936-2018

By Michael Krumholtz August 24, 2018

Colombian footballing legend Delio Gamboa. Photo still courtesy of Delia Maravilla Gamboa/Youtube.

Delio Gamboa, one of Colombia’s all-time great footballers, died Thursday at the age of 82. A report from the Spanish-language news site Semana confirmed the death of the Colombian legend in the city of Cali.

Born in Buenaventura on January 28, 1936, began playing football from an early age in his native department of Valle de Cauca.

Gamboa, who was nicknamed “Maravilla” (“Wonder”), was a long-time striker who starred for many of Colombia’s best teams including Atlético Nacional, Millonarios, and Santa Fe, among others. In Colombia, he won six national championships, the majority of those coming with Bogotá’s Millonarios.

He is also remembered as one of the first Colombian players to venture abroad to play, as he also played in Mexico with the club Oro. There he was named the best foreign player in the Mexican league for two consecutive seasons.

On the national team, Gamboa was part of Los Cafeteros first ever World Cup appearance with the 1962 squad, although he was limited to just one game due to a nagging injury. He also took part in a pair of Copa América tournaments with his country.

After his playing career, Gamboa coached Millonarios’ second team for two decades until his retirement in 2009.

Colombian men’s magazine Don Juan recognized Gamboa as the fifth best player in the country’s history in a recent list.

On the field, Gamboa ended his career with an astounding 491 games and 178 goals. Fellow players and historians also remember “Maravilla” as a good sport and gentleman, as he was noted for often trying to diffuse fights on the pitch.