The Strongest

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The Strongest
Escudo the strongest white.jpg
Full name Club The Strongest
Nickname(s) Tigre, Gualdinegro, El Decano
Founded 8 April 1908; 107 years ago
Ground Estadio Rafael Mendoza
Estadio Hernando Siles
La Paz
Ground Capacity 15,000
42,000
Chairman Cesar Salinas
Manager Cesar Farias
League Liga de Fútbol Profesional Boliviano
Apertura 2015 3rd
Website Club home page

Club The Strongest is a Bolivian football club based in La Paz founded on 8 April 1908.[1] Their team colours are yellow and black. Although they have a home ground, the Rafael Mendoza Castellón (capacity: 15,000), they play most of their games at the Estadio Hernando Siles, Bolivia's national ground (capacity: 42,000). The club is the oldest active football club in Bolivia and the only team to have played continuously in the country's top division for longer than a century.

The club was well represented in the Bolivian squad at the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the last such tournament in which the national team participated, by Marcelo Torrico, Gustavo Quinteros, Óscar Sánchez and José Melgar.

History[edit]

The Strongest were originally known as "The Strong Football Club", before later becoming "The Strongest Football Club". Its first President and founder was José León López Villamil. Its first championship was in 1911, well before any of the current Bolivian teams had even been created.

In 1930, The Strongest became the first and only Bolivian team to win a League championship with no goals scored against them. The same year, The Strongest inaugurated the Estadio Hernando Siles, with a 4–1 victory against its classical rival (at the time), Universitario.

It is the only football team in the world to have a battle named after it. In the Chaco War (1932–1935) the players, staff and members of the club enlisted in the Bolivian Army to defend the country against the Paraguayan attack. A division largely composed of these "Stronguistas" played a vital part in the Bolivian Army's most important victory. As a result of that, the battle is named "Batalla de Cañada Strongest" in Bolivian history books.

In 1965, The Strongest participated in its first Copa Libertadores, at a time when only national champions were entered into the tournament. The Strongest scored Bolivia's first victory outside of the country on a club level, defeating Deportivo Quito. The team finished 2nd in its group that year, second to Boca Juniors (Argentina).

The highest achievement in an international competition for The Strongest was achieved in the 2005 Copa Sudamericana, when the squad led by coach Villegas eliminated its classic rivals with two 2–1 victories in La Paz, in front of a packed stadium. Later, the team went on to defeat LDU Quito (Ecuador) – including a 3–0 victory in Quito. The Strongest was eliminated by Pumas UNAM (Mexico), who later went on to become runners-up to cup winners Boca Juniors (Argentina).

Rafael Mendoza[edit]

The greatest president in The Strongest's history, he was in charge of the club from 1966 to 1978. In that time, he dealt with the Viloco Tragedy and with many economic hardships, consequent of the political instability of Bolivia and the global economic depression.

One of the greatest achievements was to consolidate the Achumani Sports Complex where the Estadio Rafael Mendoza currently sits. There were many hardships to reach this goal. First, the club had to secure the lands, which were much more extensive than the small lot the club had in Achumani, near the more centrally located Achumani Market. "Don Rafo", in a meeting with other directors, said that now was the time to stop thinking small and start thinking in the future of the team.

The stadium was built and rebuilt (after the river kept eating away at the foundations for some time) from 1974 to 1986. Along with this, the complex was finished including tennis, racquetball, volleyball, and basketball courts. It also has a swimming pool and dining facilities. It is the location for most meetings and soccer events.

"Don Rafo" is best remembered for his hard work in the Achumani Sports Complex. However, he was also one of the few club presidents to put money into the club. Also, in this time, The Strongest achieved great national and international success. Some events to remember in his presidency are the visit by Pelé's Santos team in 1971, an amazing game against Boca Juniors led by Antonio Roma and Silvio Marzolini, and many national championships including the formation of the Liga de Futbol Profesional Boliviano.

The Viloco tragedy[edit]

On 24 September 1969, a local holiday, the team was invited to participate in a special game organized by the Asociacion Cruceña de Fubol (Santa Cruz's football association). For the team, it was simply another visit to Santa Cruz. On 14 September, the team had played its last official match and this game was part of a break from their local competition.

On 26 September, the day the team was due to return from Santa Cruz by plane, it was announced that the aircraft carrying most of the team (A Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano DC-6) had disappeared. Incidentally, on the same day, a military government was being established in Bolivia.

A day later, with no real information as to what had happened, the news that the plane had crashed around a rural area called Viloco (between the Tres Cruces Peaks) was received. All 74 passengers and 9 crew members were dead.

The members of the team who died that day were: Eustaquio Ortuño (Coach), José Ayllón Guerra (manager), Felipe Aguilar (staff). The 17 players that died were: Armando Angelacio, Orlando Caceres (Paraguayans), Hernán Andretta, Héctor Marchetti, Eduardo Arrigó, Raúl Oscar Farfán (Argentinians), Julio Alberto Díaz, Oswaldo Franco (Naturalized Bolivians), Ernesto Villegas, Jorge Durán, Angel Porta, Juan Iriondo, Oscar Guzmán, Jorge Tapia, Germán Alcázar, Oscar Flores, Diógenes Torrico (Bolivians).

Kit[edit]

The Strongest adopted the yellow and black stripes upon foundation in 1908. While looking for a proper uniform, a friend sent the founders a shirt from Germany that sported a dark green with horizontal, yellow stripes. Upon this, one of the founders commented on how a local bird, the Chayñita, had similar colours. The club adopted the idea and since 1908, the main outfit has been vertically striped yellow and black with a varying number of stripes.

The supplementary uniform has commonly been white with yellow and black, though there have been several other combinations such as a full yellow top and black shorts and even full yellow outfit. More recently, an all black secondary uniform has been adopted for Cup matches.

It is sometimes claimed that the similarity to the kit of Peñarol of Montevideo, Uruguay is due to the fact that The Strongest lacked originality and imitated those colours. However, this theory is countered by the argument that Peñarol did not adopt a full striped kit until the 1905 season, and was an unknown team at the time (won 4 titles in its 24-year existence, up to that point).

Achievements[edit]

National honors[edit]

1977, 1986, 1989, 1993, 2003-A, 2003-C, 2004-C, 2011–12-A, 2011–12-C, 2012–13-A, 2013–14-A
Runners-up (6): 1979, 1980, 1981, 1988, 1999, 2005-AD
National Champions (2): 1964, 1974
Runners-up (1): 1970
League Champions (6): 1952, 1963, 1964, 1970, 1971, 1974
Cup Champions (1): 1958
1914 ("Copa Max de la Vega"), 1914 ("Copa Bautista Saavedra"), 1916 ("Trofeo Buque Quinteros"), 1916 ("Campeonato 20 de Octubre"), 1917, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1930, 1935, 1938, 1943, 1945, 1946
1911 in its only edition, First football tournament played in Bolivia
1977, 1984, 2000
Runner-up (2): 1988, 1997
2007
Runner-up (1): 2006

Performance in CONMEBOL competitions[edit]

Best: Second Round in 1990, 1994
1990 – Second Round
1994 – Second Round
2003 – Quarter-finals
2005 – Second Round
 –
1995 – First Round
1997 – Preliminary Round
1998 – Group Stage
1999 – Group Stage

Records and other achievements[edit]

  • First team to win an organized football Championship in the country (Copa Prefectural 1911, organized by the regional government),
  • First team to win an official title (organized by an official football entity) (Campeonato Liga 1914, organized by the LPFA),
  • First team to win the country's current Top Division title: Liga Profesional de Fútbol Boliviano (1977),
  • First undefeated champion in the country (1914 League, 6 wins and 1 tie),
  • First multiple champion of the Bolivian football (six straight league titles after 1916),
  • Only team to finish a season with no goals against (1930 LPFA Championship),
  • Only team to have won all the official titles in an entire decade (between 1916 and 1925),
  • Only Bolivian team to win a title in several categories (Champion LPFA 1914 and Champion Second Division 1914),
  • First Bolivian team to win a game abroad in an official cup (1–0 in Ecuador against Deportivo Quito for the 1965 Copa Libertadores de América),
  • Oldest Bolivian team, reaching the 100 year milestone playing in the top division,
  • Oldest and one of two teams (with Oriente Petrolero), to have never played in the lower divisions of Bolivian soccer.
  • First Bolivian team to win three consecutive championship titles and be nominated as the "Tri-Campeones" of Bolivian soccer,
  • The first team in Bolivia that needed money donations for surviving, (2014–15).

Current squad[edit]

For Copa Libertadores 2016 Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Bolivia GK Gustavo Fernández
2 Bolivia DF David Checa
3 Bolivia MF Alejandro Chumacero
4 Argentina DF Federico Pereyra
5 Bolivia DF Fernando Martelli
6 Bolivia DF Abraham Cabrera
7 Bolivia FW Rodrigo Vargas
8 Bolivia MF Diego Bejarano
9 Paraguay FW Carlos Neumann
10 Bolivia MF Pablo Daniel Escobar
11 Paraguay MF Ernesto Cristaldo
12 Bolivia DF Jair Torrico
13 Bolivia GK José Peñarrieta
14 Bolivia DF Diego Wayar
15 Uruguay DF Luis Maldonado
No. Position Player
16 Bolivia MF Wálter Veizaga
17 Bolivia MF Jhon Jairo Otta
18 Bolivia FW Rodrigo Ramallo
19 Bolivia GK Daniel Vaca
20 Argentina MF Mariano Torres
21 Bolivia DF Ramiro Ballivián
22 Bolivia FW Daniel Chávez
23 Uruguay FW Matías Alonso
24 Bolivia DF Julio César Pérez
25 Bolivia MF Yhon Jairo Villegas
26 Bolivia MF Raúl Castro
27 Bolivia FW Freddy Abastoflor
28 Bolivia FW Daniel Coca
29 Bolivia MF Bryan Chacón

Coaching staff[edit]

Position Staff
Manager Venezuela Cesar Farias
Assistant First Team Coach Chile Arturo Norambuena

Notable players[edit]

See also Category:The Strongest players.

Managers[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vanauskas, Laura (1999). An Encyclopedia of Football in Bolivia – 1914 to 1998. The Clubs – club: The Strongest, details and references to formation. Heart Books – Belgium. p. 192.