View Full Version : And we think we have problems!!

27-05-2002, 03:57 AM
You have to feel a bit for this guy.. from onefootball.com

Many consider Ecuador coach Hernan Dario "Bolillo" Gomez a hero just for turning up in Japan and Korea after he was shot and pistol-whipped last year for omitting a player from the Under-20 World Championships.

Bolillo never considered the consequences when he dumped "Dalo" Bucaram. He was just a football coach working in the best interests of the team.

Except that it does not always work that way in South America - especially in Bolillo's home country of Colombia, where shootings, assassinations and kidnappings play an all-too-familiar role in many walks of life.

This time the violence was to pursue the Colombian manager to Ecuador as South American World Cup qualification entered its final phase.

He cannot say he was not warned.

"The country will see the implications of Dalo's omission. Coke-head Bolillo's life will be investigated," said Dalo's sister Elsa Bucaram, the sister of Abdala Bucaram, president of Ecuador until a coup ousted him in 1997.

Bolillo would also have remembered that his close friend, Andres Escobar, was assassinated when he returned home to Bogota after scoring an own goal at USA 94.

"In Colombia you pay these things more attention as the threats extend to your family," he explains.

The Bucaram family, one of the most powerful in Ecuador, proved that they like to get their own way. The "isolated incident", as Bolillo calls it, occurred one hot Tuesday evening in May 2001.

The Colombia manager at France 98 and assistant boss at USA 94 was enjoying a meal in the restaurant of the exclusive Guayaquil Hilton with army captain and team sports director Vinicio Luna.

As muzak enhanced the genteel environment, the pair organised the final details of their forthcoming trip to Argentina.

Then the scene was rudely interrupted by a henchman of Abdala Bucaram, Dalo's father, who marched over to Bolillo's table and pistol butted his nose to an ugly pulp.

The hitman, flanked by a posse of thugs, further petrified diners by firing a shot into Bolillo's thigh, leaving him writhing in agony as blood seeped across the marble floor.

Doctors rushed to staunch the wound and a hotel executive hurried the coach to a local hospital, where he lost consciousness. "All I remember saying is I didn't want to die," he recalls.

Crowds gathered to offer support. "Bolillo, our friend, we are with you," read banners. "It was then I realised how much the people of Ecuador loved me," the manager, who struggled to the window of his hospital room to wave to fans, says now

Bolillo returned to Medellin in Colombia, the city where infamous drugs lord Pablo Escobar was assassinated ten years earlier, and contemplated resigning, but a plea from current president Gustavo Noboa persuaded him to stay.

"I deplore and repudiate the criminal assault against you," Noboa told Bolillo. "The perpetrators and accomplices should be punished with the full force of the law.

"I've heard that you want to resign but this would interrupt the qualification campaign that could see Ecuador reach the World Cup. I ask you to seriously consider your decision."

Bolillo heeded the plea -or was it a warning? - but stipulated that the Policia Nacional should escort him everywhere. "All I can offer you is to keep on working," he responded.

The coach then answered the thugs in the best possible way by inspiring the Tricolor to their first World Cup finals - and picked the players that he wanted to go.

The official report into the incident uncovered the involvement of Joselo Rodriguez Hidalgo, a board member of Ecuadorian second-division club Santa Rita.

He was assasinated in his car in April after completing a six-month prison sentence.