September 2011

The beginning of football in Cochabamba

A short overview of how eleven men and one ball could conquest Bolivia.

By Walter Sánchez C.
Instituto de Investigaciones

Bolivia´s football team before their first world cup match (1930)
Curtesy: Carlos Noya

Football came to Bolivia at the end of 19th century. British engineers arrived to work in the Oruro mines by Bolivian Railway Train Company and also in the different business houses in the city they introduced this sport and practice. It is for this reason that the first teams were of English influence (Oruro Royal, The Strongest, and New Players) also the vocabulary used by these foreign players was soon incorporated into the local terminology (off side, foul, goalkeeper, match, etc.).

While in these early years it was a sport mainly practiced by foreigners. Little by little young Bolivians started to be incorporated, especially the higher classes. Soon the sport expanded and new young athletes, especially from middle classes, began to play, in fact the sport soon became popular in other parts of the country.

In this initial enthusiasm the first official football team was founded on the 26th of May, 1896. “Oruro Foot Ball Club” who’s first squad consisted of Bolivians and foreigners with enthusiastic, talented young athletes among them such as: Felipe Niño de Guzmán, ZenónEizaguirre, Luís Aguirre, Augusto Gunther, Alberto Aguirre, LuísVásquez, Ricardo Martínez, Telésforo Ross, Rafael Vásquez, Hans Geberber y Ernesto Galzin.

Their presence had a big impact as soon a new football team was founded in Oruro; they were inspiring and influenced other cities. By the early twentieth century football teams existed in the city of La Paz as well and interdepartmental challenges started. For exam-ple an interdepartmental soccer match in La Paz between Oruro Foot Ball Club and Thunder Foot Ball Club from La Paz was held in 1905 for the first time in Bolivia. Dur-ing the first decade of the 20th century, football arrived to Cochabamba. As in many other Bolivian cities, it was the young middle and upper classes who quickly adopted it; they also began to organize informal, small teams and football championships in a ma-keshift field in San Sebastian square.

One of the top football teams in Cochabamba is the National Football Club, no one knows the date of its foundation, but it may be around 1905. The founders are also un-known, but it can be assumed that they were the same players. It is interesting to note that in 1910, the football team was comprised of young intellectuals and prominent ath-letes from Cochabamba such as: Moisés Flores, Oscar Crespo, José Prado, Misael Sau-cedo, Walter Quiroga, Eduardo Reyes Ortiz, NéstorSolís, Apolinar Morales, Jorge Santa Cruz, Rodolfo TorricoZamudio, Eduardo Aguirre, and JoséBorda and Félix Capriles. It is this team that participated in local and interdepartmental matches. From 1910 on these matches were held regularly. They had great success and popularity, and even were hot topics in news magazines and local newspapers. Eg “Sportiva Life” brochure, March 1915 edition, highlighted the journey of the NationalFootball Club to the city of La Paz to play a match interdepartmental in August of that year. If we look a year earlier , the first entity that brought together the football clubs had founded the city of La Paz: La Paz Foot-Ball Association (now the Football Association of La Paz), it is possible that this meeting had been organized by them.

The eleven players on the field
Curtesy: Carlos Noya

For the second decade of the twentieth century football was already quite established in Cochabamba and there were several clubs consolidated. Given the need to regulate the operation of their little competitions these clubs agreed to create an organiza-tion. Thus was born the Cochabamba Football Association (CFA) - who later adopted the name of Cochabamba Football Association (AFC) - in a meeting at Majestic Hotel the 18th of April 1924 in the presence of the following clubs: Racing (represented by José Félix

Capriles and Villarroel) New Players(representedby Jesús Lara), ReadyPlayers(Hernán Salamanca and Alfredo Mendizábal), 14 de Noviembre (Diógenes Aguilar), Nimbles (Julio Claure y Jorge Paz), Unión e Instituto Superior de Artesanos (José Antonio Arze). The directive of the new organization will be comprised of; Victor Rojas (Chair), Jose de La Zerda

(Vice President), Ignacio López (Secretary General), Germain Urquidi (Treasurer), Luis Valle and Luis Ocaña (Vocals).

With this new institutionalism, the CFA became responsible for organizing local tour-naments. An example is the quadrangular carried out the May 25, 1925 ─ during Chu-quisaca department anniversary, between the four main teams of Cochabamba: New Players F.B.C., el Ready Player F.B.C., el Racing y Unión (El Heraldo, 25.V.1925).

One year after the establishment of CFA in September 12th, 1926, in the city of Cocha-bamba the “Federación Boliviana de Futbol” dedicated to the professionalization of the sport was created. In this context of consolidation Bolivia was invited to participate in the First World Football Championship (Uruguay-1930), because of nonattendance of European teams who decided to boycott the event. Due to the rush of the invitation players were called to the Bolivian national team from clubs mostly from Oruro and La Paz (Oruro Royal and The Strongest). Ulises Saucedo, who played for a club in London, was brought in to coach the selection. Leaving for Uruguay, through Argentina, seven-teen players: Casiano Chavarría, Constantino Noya, Diógenes Lara, Eduardo Reyes, Gumersindo Gómez, Jesús Bermúdez, Jorge Valderrama, José Bustamante, Juan Argote, Luis Reyes Peñaranda, Mario Alborta, Miguel Brito, Miguel Murillo, Rafael Méndez, Renato Sainz, René Fernández, Segundo Durandal. Constantino Noya, Royal Oruro striker, was just some of the few players in this selection of Cochabamba.

The presence in Bolivia was unfortunate as they lost to Brazil and Yugoslavia, out in the first round. However, this experience pushed Bolivian football to professionalization and promoted the emergence of new clubs in the city of Cochabamba. Thus, after the war of Bolivia with Paraguay (1932-1935), the club Aurora emerges in 1937. San Jose club de la Banda appears in 1949, and since 1953 will be renamed Jorge Wilsterman.



traducido por: Ximena Noya

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