Colombia 5-a-side Amateur World Champion
Colombia scooped the title at the self-proclaimed world’s largest amateur football tournament in Thailand, trumping Japan 3-1 in the final. Just like the FIFA World Cup, the tournament boasts 32 countries, although the teams that participated were required to play regional and national qualifying tournaments in their home nations to decide which team would represent their countries.
The tournament is strictly forbidden to professionals but brags that commercial scouts are present. The Colombian champions sailed successfully through a gruelling 98-team qualifying tournament with the final stages held in Bogotá. They went on to win all their games at the event and by winning the title, Los Cafeteros secured an exclusive trip to Las Vegas to attend the next Global Legends of Football Series.
World Championship rulings require that all the players need either a valid passport or residency visa of the country they represent. Next year’s qualification tournament for Colombia will be held towards the end of 2016 and you can enter your team via www.F5WC.co
Liga Águila halfway stage
In the first six weeks of the Liga Águila, eight rounds of matches have been played and the leading teams are, just as expected, in and around the top spots.
Junior leads the pack with a game in hand, Los Tiburones taking full advantage of the fact that they have neither the extra games of the Copa Libertadores nor the Colombian Cup. The team hasn’t had much real competition yet and have claimed a healthy 16 out of 21 possible points. They are yet to face most of the big teams, but would have to fade badly to miss out on the playoffs this season.
Atlético Nacional also sit near the top of the league, although their performance in the Copa Libertadores is the real attention grabber. Away at Copa Sudamericana finalist Huracán, Marlos Moreno, seen as the next best thing of Colombian football, overwhelmed the Argentinians with his powerful runs which helped his team record an impressive 2-0 win. A week later at home against Sporting Cristal the expectations were colossal and Los Verdolaga didn’t disappoint, even their 3-0 victory failing to reflect the domination they showed on the pitch.
The positive surprise in the league thus far in the season are Rionegro Águilas The team now have their home ground available, and are firmly in the top eight with still two postponed home games in hand with which to strengthen their playoff aspirations. Manager Néstor El matemático Otero has created a dynamic system with quick wingers, although a fistfight in the changing room between former club president Salazar and striker Luis Páez reported after the game versus Junior doesn’t bode well for the future.
For Deportes Tolima the season started disastrously. Zero points and ten goals conceded in the first three games was the perfect recipe for a struggle they haven’t been able to get out off. One of the reasons the semifinalists from last season are underperforming, are the injuries to and lack of form of former captain Wilmar Barrios. The 22 year old received a call-up to the Colombia squad last year, although his level so far this season is a long way off the form that made Pekerman invite him into the national team.
Atlético Bucaramanga had anticipated a slightly different return to the top division. Los Leopardos started the season well with draws at home against title favourite Independiente Medellín and away at Patriotas Boyacá, but the ‘empatitis’ – draw syndrome – continued to affect the team until the eighth round away at Deportes Tolima, where they recorded their first win.