It wouldn't be fair to speak about the culture and way of being of Bolivia and Cochabamba without mentioning football, which Americans call soccer but which I will refer to as football since that is how it is called in Europe and the name all Latin Americans love.
I will introduce ocassionaly a team or two and I will start with the football teams which represent Cochabamba, and on this ocassion I will introduce Wilstermann.
Let's start with some history about the Wilstermann footbal club.
The story says that Wilstermann started with the name of "San José
de la Banda" and with the colors light blue and white. The change
At the end of the 24th of November of 1949, a group of workers for
the Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano got together to start a club which could
identify with the company and become the pride of the workers.
After two hours of debate, in the maintenance section, they started the "San José de la Banda" Club to honor the region and the name of the airport of Cochabamba. Afterwards they proceeded to the election of the directory and they designated as president Mr. Justo Mancilla.
One of the problems which was found in the meeting and was not simple to solve was what colors the team should use. While someone wanted one color, others didn't agree; until they reached a agreement and decided for the official colors of the entity, light, blue and white.
In this manner was born what we know today as s Wilstermann.
THE CHANGE OF NAME
After the tragic death of the first commercial plane pilot of Bolivia, Jorge Wilstermann, came the change of the club's name. It was in 1953, the chairman of the company, captain Walter Lemm, who was partner of the deceased pilot, was the one who suggested the name Wilstermann both for the airport terminal and soccer team, in homage of this very loved persons in the institution.
(Wilstermann Camacho died in a airplane accident when he flied a
Junker plane between the cities of Oruro and Cochabamba).
THE FIRST ACTIVITIES
After its foundation, the leaders registered the club in the Soccer Association of Cochabamba (AFC) to play in the second division. It didn't have any match and its excellent participation "obliged" it to ask the AFC to be able to participate in the semiprofesional championship which was played in La Paz between teams of those two
cities. After a series of meetings, La Paz accepted, but first they had to take a "admission examen". The game was with Bolívar, then champion, and beat him, to everyone's surprise 7 to 5 in a unforgettable game of García, Soria and Alcócer. Precisely Soria was the one who marked the last goal by Wilstermann in a spectacular "chilena".
At the end of the game, the soccer leaders in La Paz accepted including the team in te profesional championship, if it paid all its transport, lodging, feeding and others of the teams that went to play in Cochabamba. The valley club went through hardships, had many expenses but the step had been taken and it was worth it.
THE CHANGE OF COLORS
When Dr. Jorge Rojas Tardío was president of the club, the team changed colors. He was the one to propose changing color, to one which expressed more strength, and the decison was taken to change to red and blue. "I chose these colors because they have the meaning of strength, perseverance and full dedication to the game, moreover we were the only team in those days which started using those colors", explains Mr. Rojas Tardio.
FIRST GOLDEN PERIOD
The first national title that Wilstermann achieved was in 1958.
This started the first golden period the club had, in which many players became famous like Wálter Zamorano, Mario Zabalaga, Carlos Trigo, César Sánchez, Máximo Alcócer, Ausberto García, Renán López, Alfredo Soria, Rómulo Cortez, Wilfredo Villarroel, José Trujillo,
Oscar Claure y José Rocabado
It was the only Bolivian team which played with five forward players, it destroyed all the defenses. In 1959, Wilstermann got the cup again and this permited him to be the representative for Boliva in the first version of the "Libertadores de América" Cup in 1960. In this cup it had to face "Peñarol", from Uruguay. In Montevideo it fell 1-7 and in the returning encounter played in the "Hernando Siles" stadium in La Paz it tied 1-1.
In 1961, Wilstermann was again the national representative and had to play against Santa Fe, from Colombia, who it beat in Cochabamba by 3-2 and lost 0-1 when it went to Colombia, so thn they had to do cast lots.
SECOND GOLDEN PERIOD
Under the presidence of Alfredo Salazar, the fans started living the second golden period of Wilstermann. It was the 70s and Wilstermann had a team which achieved the championships for '72 and ‘73. "Those were good years because Wilstermann had the feeling a winner team, it didn't like to lose as a visitor an less even at home. Moreover it always was on the attack and that is how it achieved a historical tie against River Plate (2-2) in Buenos Aires,
Argentina", remembers Antonio Yañez, leader and administrative in the entity since 1975.
The basic team was made up by René Bilbao, Jaime Olivera, Hugo Pérez, Hugo Franco, Juan José Ponce, Víctor Hugo Bravo, Juan Carlos Sánchez, Freddy Vargas, Limbert Cabrera Rivero, Milton Teodoro
Joana y Juan Abel Gangas. Estaban también Batista, Limbert Cabrera
Bucet, Avendaño, Soto, Alberto Segovia, Wilfredo Siles, Acevedo,
Mario Pérez, Caballeri, Víctor Eduardo Villalón y José Issa. The "plane" team was unbeatable at home and very respected when it wen to play as a visitor.
THIRD GOLDEN PERIOD
After some problems with the internal structure and with the start of the Professional Soccer League, Wilstermann started its third golden period, obtaining the last two championships in its history in 1980 and 1981.
It was in this phase, that the club leaders Alfredo Salazar and Erasmo Saavedra did big gambling and brought a world cup reenforcement, a brasiliean player who was an artist with the ball, the famous Jairzinho, who filled the stadiums not only in
"When he arrived nobody believed in Jair; everybody said he was old and that he wasn't going to be any good, but the brasiliean shut the mouth of many soccer leaders and journalists. I remember that the paperwork was done by Alfonso Arévalo, who got the addresses and phone numbers where the star could be reached. Today we still remember him as a brilliant soccer player", remember Yáñez.
The team achieved what many Bolivian temas were looking for:
- Classify to the second phase of the Libertadores de América. In an unforgettable game, in the "Tahuichi Aguilera" stadium in Santa Cruz, Wilstermann beat The Strongest for 4-1 in a game to break a tie, after having had a good participation against the teams from
Ecuador; Técnico Universitario, from Ambato, and Barcelona, fromGuayaquil.
In the second phase Wilstermann had to play against the teams; Deportivo Cali, fromColombia, and Flamengo, from Brasil. With the Colombian team it tied 1-1 in Cochabamba and in Cali lost 0-1; with the team from Río de Janeiro it lost 1-2 as home and in the Maracana lost 1-4. These were difficult results, but ilstermann had
achieved the la feat of classifying to a second phase, that had never been achieved by any bolivian team. The Wilstermann team of that time was made bye Roger Pérez, Juan Carlos Trigo, Víctor Eduardo Villalón, Raul Eduardo Navarro, Carlos Arias, Johnny Villarroel, Freddy Vargas, René Melgar, Jairzinho, Gastón Taborga y Freddy Salguero. Also as a backup team we found Miguel Angel Bengolea, César Enríquez, Bendelack, Vladimir Soria, Fernando Rocha, Nicolás Galarza, Mario Fortunato Ríos and Ricardo Santos.