Short Bolivian national team: little giants who put 'the chest to the bullets'

Short Bolivian national team: little giants who put ‘the chest to the bullets’

The Bolivian soccer team of short stature achieved a worthy fourth place in the Copa América that concluded this Monday in Lima, Peru.

La Verde gave the stature in this international tournament, which included the participation of 11 teams and whose last champion, Paraguay, fell in the final against Argentina, the new king of the continent.

Bolivia had a great campaign in the tournament, better than in the first edition that was held in 2018 in Argentina.

As is always the case with national representatives, did not have the necessary support to face this challenge. The entire squad of 13 players trained just four days before the trip, which took place at the last minute because they did not have air tickets for the entire delegation.

Olivia Ojopi led this group of ‘little giants’ who went on pilgrimage in search of support to represent the country in an international contest. It was complicated, because a few days before the start of the Cup they barely had five tickets out of the 19 they needed to travel to the neighboring country.

The press was his main ally in raising the awareness of national and departmental authorities.

In principle, the Vice Ministry of Sport granted them only five tickets, but when the suffering of this selected team transcended in the media, he did not hesitate to support with 15 passages. At the same time, the mayor of the Santa Cruz capital contributed with another four.

What did the Bolivian Football Federation contribute? With lodging and food, according to Ojopi, the coordinator of the selected one.

In this way, Bolivia was present in the second edition of the Copa América. Already on the field those led by Carlos Alberto Castillo demonstrated their real worth. In the first phase they dispatched the host, Colombia and the combined USA and Canada.

Total surprise. The Bolivians qualified for the quarterfinals undefeated. In this phase they ran into a tough rival, Morocco. The objective was to reach the semifinals and they achieved it after drawing 2-2 with the Moroccans in regulation time, but on penalties the national team won 4-2.

So far, the mission was accomplished. He was placed among the top four and the achievement was historic. In the semifinals, this Monday they could not beat the last champion, Paraguay, and in the fight for third place they fell 3-2 to Mexico. The defeats were the least of it, since it did not affect the great production they had in the contest.

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