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February 21, 2017

Colombia: Categoría Primera A (Colombia/1st division), location-map with 2016 attendances, and titles listed.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Colombia — admin @ 1:21 pm

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Colombia: Categoría Primera A (Colombia/1st division), location-map with 2015-16 attendances and titles listed

Links…
-Teams, etc…2017 Categoría Primera A season (en.wikipedia.org).
-Table, etc…Categoría Primera A – Summary (soccerway.com/national/colombia).
-Attendances… worldfootball.net/attendance/col-primera-a-2017-apertura (worldfootball.net/south america).
-Populations [of Colombian cities] (in Spanish)…Anexo:Municipios de Colombia por población (es.wikipedia.org).

Format in the Colombian 1st division:
For sponsorship reasons, the Colombian 1st division is currently [2017] called Liga Águila. There are 20 teams in the Colombian top flight, playing in 2 half-seasons each year, with two distinct champions, each coming out of an 8-team play-off round. The two half-seasons are called the Apertura [I] (played from ~early February to late May), and the Finalización [II] (played from ~early July to late November). The play-offs see large crowds in the 30-K range for many matches. Last year [2016], in regular-season matches, the Colombian 1st division averaged around 8.0 K per game, overall. There are about 8 teams in Colombia that can draw above 10-K or more, and the league is filled out with a dozen or so small clubs who draw in the 1-K-to-5-K-range. The 8 biggest clubs will be mentioned below, with crest and current kits shown. Then, further below near the foot of the post, all the small clubs who have won a title since 2000 will be briefly mentioned (4 clubs).

There can be wildly divergent crowd-sizes, year to year…the bigger Colombian clubs can draw very high one season, then have a massive drop in attendance the following year if the team does poorly – like up to seven or eight thousands-per-game drop-offs in crowd size. As for relegation/promotion, it is 2 teams-promoted and 2-teams-relegated per year, with the relegations based on a three-year average (like in Argentina). Just promoted for 2017 are the following two clubs: Colombian giants América de Cali (who have won 13 Colombian titles), and Tigres, a small club from a suburb of Bogotá called Soacha, who are making their top-flight debut in 2017, and who will be playing in a municipal-stadium-share with the another small club from the capial, La Equidad. There are two other stadium-shares in the league, currently. The other two Bogotá-based clubs, Millonarios and Santa Fe (the capital’s biggest two clubs), share the 36-K-capacity Estadio Nemesio Camacho (aka El Campín). Millonarios have been playing there since 1938; Santa Fe since 1952. And the two highest-drawing clubs in the country, Independiente Medellín and Atlético Nacional, both play at the 40-K-capacity Estadio Atanasio Girardot in Medellín, which opened in 1953.

Here is a very simplified history of the 1st division format in Colombia (1948 to 2017).
Although there have been 69 seasons of Colombian 1st Division football played [with 2017 to be the 70th season], there have been 84 Colombian 1st Division titles awarded (from 1948 to 2016).
-From 1948 to 1995, one title per season was awarded (1 title per year)…a February to December schedule (generally).
-Then a European-style schedule was tried (August to May), but that only lasted 2 seasons (in 1995-96 and in 1996-97).
-For the next 4 seasons – 1998 to 2001 – the format reverted back to the original 1 year/1 season format.
-Then in 2002, split seasons were introduced…with the Apertura (I) and Finalización (II) tournaments becoming separate, (two champions per year), but with the season containing both titles. A play-off is used to decide each split-season title (currently: 8-team play-off, with seeded head-to-head match-ups in a bracket-format).

Colombian 1st division: probably the 3rd-best in the Americas…
The Colombian 1st division is considered by most observers to be the third-best fútbol league in South America (or third-best in all the Americas for that matter) – after, of course, Argentina and Brazil {citation, IFFHS site from Jan. 2016}. Another indication of the relative strength of the Colombian 1st division can be seen by the fact that a Colombian club – Atlético Nacional – are the current champions of the most prestigious tournament in South America, the Copa Libertadores…

Atlético Nacional – the 2016 Copa Libertadores champions…
-From World Soccer.com, Tim Vickery’s Notes from South America: Reflections on Atletico Nacional’s Libertadores triumph (from 1 Aug. 2016 by Tim Vickery at worldsoccer.com).
-{My map-and-post for the 2017 Copa Libertadores, featuring an illustration for the 2016 Copa Libertadores champions, Atlético Nacional, here.}
Atlético Nacional beat Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle on 27 July 2016, 2-1 aggregate, for the club’s second Copa Libertadores title. (Atlético Nacional’s first Copa Liberadores title was won in 1989, when they defeated Paraguay’s Olimpia.) For the 2nd leg of the 2016 Finals, in Medellín, there was an overflow crowd of 46 K in the 40-K-capacity Estadio Atanasio Girardot. Atlético Nacional striker Miguel Borja scored in the 7th minute for the winner. Atlético Nacional are one of only two Colombian clubs to have won the Copa Libertadores. (The other Colombian club which has won a Copa Libertadores title is Once Caldas, in 2004/see Once Caldas section further below.)

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Atlético Nacional were formed in 1947, one year before the pro era in Colombia began (in 1948). Atlético Nacional wear green-and-white. Their colors are derived from the flag of their home-region, Antioquia Department. Atlético Nacional are from Medellín, which has a metro-area-population of around 2.5 million, and is the 2nd-largest city in the country, after the capital, Bogotá. If you measure by ticket-paying fans, Medellín boasts the two biggest clubs in Colombia, one of which is Atlético Nacional, and the other being their main rival, Independiente (see next section, below). Both can very often draw above 25-K. Atlético Nacional, who draw in the 20K-to-29K-per-game range (most seasons), and who drew 27.9-K in 2016, are also the most-titled club in Colombia, having won the 1st-division title 15 times (last in 2015-II).

The two champions in the Colombian 1st division in 2016: Independiente Medellín and Santa Fe …
colombian-clubs_independiente-de-medellin_d_.gif
Independiente Medellín won the Apertura-2016-I. Independiente wear red-jerseys-with-blue-pants. Independiente are one of the oldest clubs in Colombia, founded over three decades before the professional era there, in 1913. Their original kit featured black shirts, but the club have always sported a red-and-blue-shield device as their crest. At the club’s Spanish Wikipedia page, {here}, you can see Independiente’s original/1913-era crest, as well as a really nice version of the Independiente crest from the late 1990s (that turns the shape of the M in the badge into a symbolized-mountain-range). As mentioned, Independiente share a stadium with, and are the big local rivals of, the aforementioned Atlético Nacional. In terms of fanbase-size, it is hard to say which of the two is the bigger club, because like Atlético Nacional, Independiente also can draw in the mid-20K-to-low-30K-per-game range (and both clubs can definitely draw above 30-K come play-off time). En route to their Apertura title, Independiente ended up drawing highest in Colombia in 2016, at 28.2-K.

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Santa Fe are from the capital, Bogotá (the largest city in the country, at around 8.0 million). Santa Fe won the Clausura-2016-II. Santa Fe wear Arsenal-style red-and-white, and sport a wonderfully minimalist crest (it is a simple blank-white-shield, with only their name and a small, red, off-center football on it). Santa Fe were formed in 1941, and 7 years later won the first pro title in Colombia in the inaugural 1948 season; they have won 9 titles (tied for fourth-most, with Deportivo Cali). Santa Fe, who draw between 9K-and-15K (most seasons), and drew 10.4-K in 2016, are not the biggest club in Bogotá – that would be their stadium-share-rivals Millonarios (see next paragraph). Santa Fe and Millonarios, as well as the aforementioned Atlético Nacional, are the only 3 clubs to never have been relegated and to have played every season of Colombian top flight football (70 seasons, including 2017).

colombian-clubs_millonarios_b_.gif"
Millonarios roots go back to the late 1930s, with a team formed in Bogotá by students of the Colegio San Bartolomé; they began being called Millonarios circa 1939, and the club was officially established in 1947. As their name suggests, Millonarios have historically had the larger share of middle-and-upper-class support amongst football fans in the capital, with Santa Fe having the larger share of working-class support in Bogotá. Millonarios wear blue-and-white, and are the second-most-titled club in Colombia, with 14 titles (last in 2012-II, but also with a recent long title-drought of 24 years, with no titles won between 1988 and 2014). Millonarios can draw between 14K-to-26K, and drew 15.0-K in 2016. And, like the two big Medellín teams, Millonarios can pull 30K+ when in the playoffs. Millonarios’ golden age was also the golden age of Colombian football, a time that has become known as the El Dorado – back in the early 1950s. {Here is an article-with-map that I posted in 2010: Colombia: Categoria Primera A, 2010 season, with a chart of the Colombian all-time champions list, from the professional era, spanning 1948 to 2009-II; and an overview of the El Dorado era (1949-1953).}

Rounding out the list of the 8-highest-drawing/8-most-successful Colombian clubs…
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América de Cali are from Cali (the 3rd-largest city in Colombia, at around 2.4 million). America de Cali are known as the Red Devils, and have just won promotion back to the 1st division. America can draw in the mid-20K-range when playing well (and they drew above 30K for their last home matches in late 2016, just before winning promotion). America have won the third-most Colombian titles, with 13 (last in 2008-II). Their best years also happened to coincide with the narco-trafficking era in Colombia (back in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s).

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Junior are from up north on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, in Barranquilla (the nation’s 4th-largest city, at around 1.2 million). Being a port city, it was in Barranquilla that Colombian football most likely first began being played, about 110 years ago {see this from the Spanish Wikipedia, es.wikipedia.org/Primera A/Historia; translation: ”
It is not known for sure how soccer came to the country, although the first official match was played on March 6, 1908, an organized party and referee in the coastal city of Barranquilla.”}. Junior were formed in 1924, with the name Juventus (which is Latin for “Youth”) – the team was initially comprised mainly of Italian immigrants. By the early 1940s, the club’s name had morphed from Juventus to the Spanish term for youth, Juventude, then to the Anglicized version: Junior. Junior wear Atlético Madrid-style kits (red-and-white-stripes-atop-blue-pants). Junior draw pretty well…between 12K-and-20K (most seasons), and they drew third-best in the country last season, at 19.0-K. Junior have won the sixth-most Colombian titles, with 7 titles (last in 2011-II). Junior were runner-up in the Apertura-2016-I, losing out to Independiente.

colombian-clubs_deportivo-cali_d_.gif
Deportivo Cali are also from Cali (like America). Deportivo Cali are one of the oldest Colombian clubs (est. 1908; re-formed 1912), and wear green-and-white. They can draw in the 8K-to-12K range (most seasons), and drew 10.8-K in 2016. Deportivo Cali are one of the few Colombian clubs to own their own stadium, which opened in 2101. They play in the very large (too large, actually, at 52-K) Estadio Deportivo Cali, which is way out on the eastern edge of Greater Cali (in Palmira, which is 28 km/17 mi east of central Cali). Deportivo Cali are tied with Santa Fe for having won the fourth-most Colombian titles, 9 (last in 2015-I).

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Once Caldas are from Manizales, which is not very large (it is the 19th-largest city in Colombia, with a population of around 370,000). Manizales is located within the triangle formed by Colombia’s 3 largest cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali. Manizales is an important center of the coffee industry. Once Caldas usually draw around 8-to-9K, and can draw above 10-K in a good season (they drew 9.3-K in 2016). As it says at their Wikipedia page {here}, “The club was founded in 1961 after the fusion of Deportes Caldas and Deportivo Manizales (also known as Once Deportivo).” Once Caldas have won 4 Colombian titles (last in 2010-II). Once Caldas are known as El Blanco (the White), and sport a shield-crest that features the Italian flag. Once Caldas were shock winners of the 2004 Copa Libertadores, coming out of nowhere to beat Argentina’s Boca Juniors in the Finals by a score of 1-1 aggregate/2-0 penalties.

After that, the league roster is filled with about a dozen clubs which can only reach about 4-to-5-K per game in a good season.
But some of these smaller 1st division clubs can actually win titles, and the following 4 clubs all draw regularly below 5-K, yet have managed to win national titles in the 21st century…
-Deportes Tolima are from the 8th-largest city in Colombia, Ibagué (population of around .56 million). Tolima won the 2003-I title, and have been runner-up 6 times, including in the last campaign (in 2016-II, when they lost out to Santa Fe). Like Once Caldas in Manizales, Tolima is located within the triangle formed by Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali. Tolima wear dark-red-with-yellow; they drew 3.7-K in 2016.
-Deportivo Pasto are from Pasto (the 17th-largest city in the country, at about .45 million population). The city of Pasto is situated at the foot of a 1.5-mile-high volcano. Pasto are the southern-most and western-most top-flight club, located in the department of Nariño. Pasto won the 2006-I title. Like Tolima, Pasto also drew 3.7-K last season. They wear red-with-blue.
-Another small club that has won the title in relatively recent times is the currently-2nd-division side Boyacá Chicó, of Tunja (which is a pretty small city of only around 183,000). Boyacá Chicó were formed very recently, in Bogatá, in 2002, then won promotion to the top flight in 2003, then moved 130 km (80 mi) north-east to Tunja, in 2004, then won the 2008-I title. But after 13 seasons in the 1st division, Boyacá Chicó were relegated at the end of 2016.
-Another recent-title-winner currently stuck in the second division is Cúcuta Deportivo, who are from the 6th-largest city in Colombia, Cúcuta (population of around .64 million). Cúcuta Deportivo won the 2006-II title, but have been a bit of a yo-yo club since, and were relegated once again, in 2013.

___
Thanks to all at the following links…
-Blank map of Colombia by Shadowfox and Alxrk2 at File:Colombia_relief_location_map.jpg.
-Orthographic [globe] map showingh Colombia, by Addicted04 at File:COL orthographic (San Andrés and Providencia special).svg.
-Thanks to World football.net for hard-to-get Colombian 1st division attendance figures, http://www.worldfootball.net/attendance/col-primera-a-2017-apertura/1/.
-Thanks to the contributors at 2017 Categoría Primera A season/teams (en.wikipedia.org), including small current kit illustrations, found at each team’s page there.

February 7, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup teams: Colombia (CONMEBOL), prominent players in 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying (theoretical best XI for Colombia, with 6 other player-options listed).

Filed under: Colombia — admin @ 12:46 pm




Colombia national team. CONMEBOL (South America). Nickname: Los Cafeteros (the Coffee Growers) / Tricolor.
Colombia is in Group C (with Greece, Ivory Coast, and Japan). ‘2014 FIFA World Cup Group C‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
2014 FIFA World Cup qualification: 2014 is Colombia’s 5th qualification out of a 17 possible qualification attempts.
Colombia qualified for the World Cup in: 1962, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2014.
Previous WC: 1998, Group Stage / 1-0-2.
Highest WC finish: 1990, Round of 16 / 1-1-2.

-Population of Colombia: 47.0 million {2012 estimate}. Capital and largest city: Bogatá, pop. 10.7 million (metro area) {2013 figure}.

Coach of Colombia: José Pékerman. José Pékerman.
Captain of the Colombia squad: Mario Yepes, DF (Atalanta), age 37. Mario Yepes.

[Note: players below reflect final 2014 WC squad selections & stats are updated to after Colombia's 2nd Group Stage game of 19 June 2014.]
Below: Theoretical Best XI for Colombia (with 6 other player-options further below) -
colombia_2014-fifa-world-cup_squad_best-xi_alternate-options_j-pekerman_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Colombia home jersey, photo from worldsoccershop.com.
Map of Colombia on globe, by Addicted04 at ‘File:Colombia (orthographic projection).svg‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Map of Colombia by Demis at demis.nl.
Coach,
José Pékerman, photo by Jorge Adorino/Reuters via news.yahoo.com.
Goalkeeper,
David Ospina (OGC Nice), photo from Abaca via purepeople.com.
Defenders,
Santiago Arias (PSV), from Getty Images via diarioadn.co/deportes.
Cristián Zapata (Milan), photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.comzimbio.com.
Mario Yepes (Atalanta), photo by Daniele Buffa/Image Sport via tuttomercatoweb.com.
Pablo Armero (Napoli), photo by Getty Images Europe via dailystar.co.uk/sport/football.
Midfielders,
Fredy Guarín (Inter), photo by Claudio Villa via mirror.co.uk/sport.
Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), photo from nuevoestadio.com.
Carlos Sánchez (Elche), photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Víctor Ibarbo FW/W (Cagliari), photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Forwards,
James Rodríguez (Monaco), photo by Jack Phillips/CameraSport via camerasport.photoshelter.com.
Radamel Falcao (Monaco), photo by Bob Edme/AP via sportsillustrated.cnn.com.
Other player-options, ,
Juan Cuadrado MF/RW (Fiorentina), photo from 1.skysports.com/football/live/match.
Teófilo Gutiérrez FW (River Plate), photo from infobae.com/2014/01/02/teofilo-gutierrez-perdio-el-avion-colombia-y-es-una-incognita-su-presencia-el-primer-entrenamiento-river.
, photo from barcaforum.com/showthread/Juan-Camilo-Zuniga.
Jackson Martinez FW/W (Porto), photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Juan Quintero CM/AM (Porto), photo by Getty Images via espndeportes.espn.go.com/news/story.
Alexander Mejía DM/CM/RM (Atlético Nacional), photo unattributed at colombia.com/futbol.

___

Thanks to the contributors at ‘2014 FIFA World Cup qualification‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at ‘Colombia national football team‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to http://www.transfermarkt.com/en/, for player-position details.

January 29, 2010

Colombia: Categoria Primera A, 2010 season, with a chart of the Colombian all-time champions list, from the professional era, spanning 1948 to 2009-II; and an overview of the El Dorado era (1949-1953).

Filed under: Colombia — admin @ 11:52 am

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The El Dorado era in Colombian fútbol (1949-1953)… 
Football first came to Colombia via British sailors in the Caribbean Sea port city of Barranquilla.  Football remained an amateur affair with no national league for decades,  and with the game having little presence in the interior of the country.  This was primarily because of the lack of transportation infrastructure in a nation which had some formidable barriers,  namely steep mountain ranges and wide rivers.  Coffee growing as an industry changed that,  providing the wealth that allowed for transportation improvements, and by the 1930s and 1940s, football had spread throughout Colombia. The wealth also brought into focus the economic disparity between the privileged few and the teeming masses of the underclass. In 1948, at the same time that a professional league was about to begin play in Colombia,  there was widespread civil unrest following the still-unsolved assassination of the presedential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, who was mayor of Bogatá. Gaitán was a threat to the entrenched oligarchy…his most famous pronouncement was “The people are superior to their leaders”.

With thousands dying in street riots, and the brand-new pro league about to begin, the governing body for amateur football in Colombia asked FIFA to suspend the pro league. FIFA did so, but then a lawyer associated with one Bogatá club, Millonarios, found a loophole which blew the door wide open…this new league and its clubs were no longer bound by rules put in place by FIFA with respect to player transfers.

This would not have been a big deal if player-management relations were normal, but player strikes in Argentina turned this situation into a mass exodus of top-calibre talent into Colombia. With coffee money to burn, and not having to deal with rules, or transfer fees, clubs like Millonarios filled their roster with some of the best players in Argentina, most notably Alfredo di Stéfano (who would later go on to fame in Europe, becoming the player that made Real Madrid the power it is to this day). Other clubs followed suit, and for 5 seasons, 1949 to 1953, Colombia had an essentially pirate league that was producing some of the best football in the world. This era in Colombian fútbol is known as ’El Dorado’. 

It wasn’t just Argentine players who flocked to Colombia for the higher wages. Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Uruguayan, Brazilian, Mexican, Chilean players; and even Scottish, English, Irish, French, and Hungarian players came to Colombia during this pirate-league golden age. By 1950, there were over 100 foreign players in Colombia. The situation was playing into the hands of the oligarchy, as they realized that this incredible calibre of football was distracting the still-restive underclass…bread and circus, if you will. FIFA allowed the pirate-league situation to continue until the end of the 1953 season, then professional Colombian football was shorn of its high priced talent, and Colombian fútbol took its place back in the pecking order in South America, a rung below Brazil and Argentina. 

-

The Colombian first division is known as Categoria Primera A. This season’s competition, its 62nd, is known as the 2010 Liga Postobón  (for sponsorship reason), and begins January 30th and 31st, with a full slate. To see the fixtures,  {click here (Soccerway.com)}. 

The league has 18 clubs, yet plays 18 rounds for each season in the year, which is divided into the Apertura season (usually early February to May) and the Finalización season (June to December). In each season,  clubs play every club in the league once (17 games), plus an extra 18th game against the local rival, which is appointed to them. 

The make-up of these extra-match-versus-local-rivals-fixtures does not change that much because sometimes there is just one club relegated to Primera B, and one club promoted. Like in Argentina, relegation is determined by first division results from a three-year period. The club with the worst cumulative average over the three-year-period is relegated, and the second-worst club must play the second place club in Primera B in a relegation/promotion playoff. 

Since 2002,  the league format has featured a large, 8-team post-season playoffs, and split champions for each year, which are denoted by the Roman numerals I and II for that year’s Apertura and Finalización champions. In other words, the current champion, Independiente Medellin, were winners in 2009-II. Independiente Medellin defeated Atlético Huila 3-2 on aggregate, and on 20th December they were champions.

-

In 1948, the DIMAYOR, or División Mayor del Fútbol Profesional Colombiano  (in English: Major Division of Colombian Professional Football) was formed in Barranquilla.  Right away, the Colombian professional game went through the aforementioned  ’El Dorado’. The league was out of the jurisdiction of FIFA during this 5-year period, and players from all over South America jumped at the opporttunity to play in Colombia for what were then record wages.

The appropriately named Millonarios (established 1946), of Bogatá, who wear blue-and-white, were the club that had the biggest success during El Dorado, winning four of the five titles in the El Dorado era. The team at this time became known as the ballet azul (the ballet in blue). Millonarios, led by that wizard Alfredo di Stéfano, went through the 1951 season undefeated. They would quickly score a few goals, then opt not to score any more goals which would humiliate their opponents, instead putting on a passing display that would dazzle the large crowds. International tours ensued, and Millonarios were victorious over many top European clubs. This also exposed the club’s talent, and as soon as the pirate-league status of the Colombian first division ended, in 1953, all the top players on Millonarios were gone.

Millonarios have never really been as big as during the El Dorado period, although they won 8 more titles, to make 13 titles total. In recent decades, financial problems have plagued Millonarios and the fútbol club has not won a championship since 1988. 

[Bogatá is Colombia's largest and capital city,  with a metro population of 7.5 million (2009 census, here).]

Millonarios are tied with América de Cali for the most Colombian professional titles, with 13. América de Cali, who wear red-and-white, are a club that can trace its roots back to 1918, when it was formed by some students from Colegio Santa Librada in Cali. 

[Cali is in western Colombia approximately 128 km. (80 mi.) from the Pacific Ocean, and is the county's second largest city, with a metro population of around 2.5 million.]

There is one crucial difference berween the 13 titles these two clubs each have won…Millonarios have not won a title in 21 years, their last championship was in 1988. And since 1988, América have won 7 of their 13 titles, their most recent in 2008-II. América de Cali have been runner-up in the Copa Libertadores a frustrating four times, in 1985 (losing to Argentinos Juniors on penalty kicks), in 1986 (losing to Argentina’s River Plate), in 1987 (losing to Uruguay’s Peñarol in the dying moments), and in 1996 (again falling to River Plate). América de Cali have been hampered by their past associations with drug cartels, and were on the Clinton List (ie, their $1 million-plus assets in the USA were frozen). Since then, the club has been a financial mess. Nevertheless, in the last 3 decades (1980-2009), América de Cali have still been the most successful club in Colombia, winning 12 of their 13 titles. 

Here are América de Cali’s rivalries {click here (‘América de Cali – Rivalries’,  from en.wikipedia.org)}.

Third on the list of all-time champions {here} in Colombia are Atlético Nacional, who have won 10 titles,  their most recent in 2007-II. Atlético Nacional are from Medellin, and wear green-and-white.

[Medellin is in west-central Colombia and has a metro population of 2.2 million,  making it slightly smaller than Cali {note: some sources say Medellin is the second largest city of Colombia, and some sources say Cali is the second largest.}] 

Atlético National are one of just two Colombian clubs to have won the Copa Libertadores, which is of course the most prestigious trophy in South America. Atlético National won their Copa Libertadores title in 1989, defeating Olimpia of Paraguay 2-2 aggregate/5-4 on penalty kicks.

Atlético Nacional share their stadium, the 52,000-seat Estadio Atanasio Girardot, with Independiente Medellin, who are current champion. Independiente Medellin, who wear red-with-blue, have now won 5 titles, three in the last decade. This makes them tied for the 6th most-successful club in Colombia with Junior, of Barranquilla, who won their fifth title in 2004-II. Junior wear red-and-white-vertical-stripes-with-blue-pants.

Another stadium share is between the two biggest clubs in Bogatá, the aforementioned Millionarios and Santa Fe. Santa Fehave 6 titles, but none since 1975. Santa Fe, who wear red-with-white/-Arsenal-style kits, are the 5th most titled club in Colombia. 

There was a third example of a stadium share in the league, in Cali, between América de Cali and the fourth-most-successful club in the country, Deportivo Cali. Deportivo Cali wear green-and-white, and have won 8 titles, their most recent in 2005-II. That stadium share has ended with the 2008 opening of the monumental 55,000-capacity Estadio Deportivo Cali …see this video filmed by a constructioin worker and you can see how the barriers between the privileged elite and the underprivileged masses have remained. Notice that the all-mod-cons which modern stadia inevitably feature are not at all evident in the gigantic bowl seating. All the seats in the main area are backless benches. While towering above is a sheer wall of multi-story luxury seating for the rich, {click here (‘Estadio Deportivo Cali’, a Youtube video by Pacocali83, from July, 2007)}. Estadio Deportivo Cali is in Palmira, which is 28 km. (17 miles) north-east of Cali.

To round out the all-time champions list, the 8th most successful club in Colombia are Once Caldas, who wear white-with-black-pants, and are from Manizales, which is the principal city of the major coffee-producing area of Colombia. Corporación Deportiva Once Caldas were formed after the El Dorado era, in 1959,  from the merger of two clubs formed in the 1930s. One of the two clubs which formed the merger was Deportes Caldas, which was the only club besides Millonarios to win a title during the El Dorado era….Deportes Caldas won the 1950 title. Once Caldas did not make it to the top flight until 1961, and it took almost 3 decades for them to challenge for a title. Once Caldas first made a Copa Libertadores appearance in 1999. They finished dead last in their group. So it was quite a shock to see this club be crowned champions of South America just 5 years later. Their Copa Libertadores title was won in 2004, with a shock upset of Argentina’s Boca Juniors, by a score of 1-1 aggregate/2-0 in a penalty shoot-out.

There are 6 clubs that have won one Colombian professional title. 4 of these are currently in Primera A. The most recent of these, Boyacá Chicó,  won the 2008-I title. This club was founded in Bogatá very recently, in 2002, as Chicó FC, winning top flight promotion in 2003, then moving east to Tunja, which is the capital of the department of Boyacá. Boyacá Chicó is a club that is punching above their weight…they play in a stadium that holds just 8,500. 

In general, this is a trend in the Colombian game, with small clubs getting the chance to win titles. There are two reasons for this. First,  almost all the big/big city clubs have faced financial turmoil in recent seasons. Second, with 8 of 18 clubs making the post-season, all bets are off, so to speak, and several small clubs have recently won their first title…the aforementioned Boyacá Chicó (2008-I); Cúcuta Deportivo (in 2006-II), the-just relegated Deportivo Pasto (in 2006-I); and Deportes Tólima (in 2003-II). Deportes Quindo is the only other club currently in the top flight which has won a title. Deportes Quindo are from Armenia, a city of around 325,000 which is located in the center of the triangle formed by the three biggest Colombian cities of Bogatá, Cali, and Medellin. Deportes Quindo won their sole title in 1956, 3 years after the El Dorado period ended. The only other club with a Colombian title is the Primera B club Unión Magdalena, from the north coast city of Santa Maria. Unión Magdalena won the 1968 title. Colombia’s most-recognized player, Carlos Valderrama, got his start there.

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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org {click here},  and es.wikipedsia.org {click here;  translated, here}.   Thanks to http://knol.google.com/k/colombian-football-league .   Thanks to http://www.demis.nl ,  for the base map.  

Thanks to David Goldblatt,  for his book ‘The Ball Is Round, a global history of football’,  originally published in 2006,  by Penguin Books, Ltd.,  London   {at Amazon,  here}.

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