Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bolivia Greatest All-Time Team

World Cup Finals 1994

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

ArgentinaBrazilUruguayPeruColombiaChileParaguay and Ecuador. 

This is my 23-member combined team for Bolivia.

Bolivia went to the World Cup in 1930 and 1950, and won the Copa America in 1963.  However, it was the founding of Tahuichi Academy that put Bolivia on the map.  In 1993, Bolivia armed with players from the academy became the first team to beat Brazil in a World Cup Qualifier.  They went to the 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA.
Copa America winner, 1963

GK: Carlos Trucco
Born in Argentina, Carlos Truce played for a number of clubs in Argentina before moving to play for Destroyers, Oriente Petrolero and Boliva in Bolivia.  He also played in Colombia and Mexico.  He had 51 caps for Bolivia.  He started playing for Bolivian national team in 1989 and was their starting goalkeeper at the 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA, Bolivia's first ever World Cup Finals since 1950.

GK: Vicente Arraya
Born in 1922, Vincente Arraya was one of Bolivia's top players in the 1950's.  He was capped 8 times for the national team of Bolivia. He played for Bolivia in the 1950 FIFA World Cup. For his club career, he also played for Ferroviario La Paz, and 8 matches for Club Atlético Atlanta of Argentina, in the 1944-45 season. He was the first Bolivian player to play in the Argentina First Division. 
Vicente Arraya (3rd left)
GK: Jesús Bermúdez
Jesús Bermúdez was Bolivia's starting goalkeeper at the 1930 World Cup Finals. He also played in the South American Championship of 1926 and 1927. For his club career, he played for Oruro Royal, whose Estadio Jesús Bermúdez stadium is named after him. He also  played for Club San Jose. He died at the age of 42.

RB: Miguel Rimba 
Rimba made three appearances in the 1994 FIFA World Cup and was part of the squad that reached the final of the Copa América in 1997.  He played the majority of his club career for Bolívar where he won six Bolivian league titles (1988, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997). Towards the end of his career he played in Argentina with Atlético Tucumán, he then had short spells with Oriente Petrolero, Real Santa Cruz and Aurora before his retirement in 2003.
CB/DM/RB: Luis Cristaldo 
Born in Argentina, Luis Cristaldo moved to Bolivia at the age of 15.  He played for Oriente Petrolero and Boliva in Bolivia before moving to play in Spain for Sporting de Gijon.  From 2001 to 2006, he played for the Strongest. He also played in Argentina and Paraguay. For the national team, he was capped 93 times.  He went to 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA.  He was at one point Bolivia's national team record cap holder alongside Marco Sandy with 93 caps.
Luis Cristaldo 
CB: Óscar Carmelo Sánchez  
Sanchez  began his professional career with The Strongest in 1991. In 1997, he was transferred to Argentine club Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy. He moved to Independiente in the winter of 1998. On his return to Bolivia in 2000, he would spend two more periods with The Strongest, and one with Bolívar.  He was capped 78 times by Bolivia and scored 6 goals, between 1994 and 2007.  He was not a member of the 1994 WC team.

CB: Ronald Raldes
Raldes started his career with Club Destroyers in 1998, the following year he joined Oriente Petrolero, where he played for them in two different stints. Raldes played Argentine club Rosario Central between 2004 and 2008.  He also played in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Mexico. He had 99 caps since 2001. Raldes was captain of the Bolivian squad for the 2015 Copa América in Chile. 

CB: Juan Pena  
Juan Pena was capped 85 times for Bolivia and was a member of the Golden Generation that qualified for the 1994 World Cup Finals in 1994.  He spent 14 seasons playing for clubs in Spain, most notably with Valladolid for 9 seasons. He also played for Villarreal and Celta before moving to play in the MLS with DC United in 2010.

LB: Marco Sandy 
Marco Sandy belonged to the Golden Generation that qualified for the 1994 World Cup Finals in the United States. He was a part of the team that finished runner-up at the 1997 Copa America. He earned 93 caps. On club level he spent the majority of his career with Bolívar, apart from three spells abroad with Real Valladolid of Spain playing alongside his countryman Juan Pena, Gimnasia de Jujuy of Argentina and Tampico Madero of Mexico.
Marco Sandy 
CM: Carlos Fernando Borja 
At club level Borja was a one club man playing his entire club career for Bolívar, where he won eleven Bolivian league titles. He played in more than 530 games, and scored 129 league goals for Bolívar making him the 3rd highest goalscorer in the history of the club.He was capped 88 times between 1979 and 1995, including three matches at the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

DM/CMWilfredo Camacho
Wilfredo Camacho started his career with Deportivo Municipal in Bolivia. In 1962,  he joined his compatriot Ramiro Blacut in the Argentine club Ferrocarril Oeste. He only remained there for only a season.  In 1964, he joined Once Caldas at home. He would return to play for Deportivo Municipalto at the end of his career. At the international level, he earned 27 caps, helping Bolivia to win the South American Championship in 1963. It was Bolivia's greatest honour in international football.
Wilfredo Camacho
CM/DM: Carlos Fernando Borja 
At the club level, Melgar started his career with Blooming before moving to Argentina, where he played for both Boca Juniors(1985-1988) and River Plate(1988-1989).  He also played for Bolívar, Oriente Petrolero and Real Santa Cruz in Bolivia, as well as Everton (VdM) and Cobreloa in Chile. Hewas capped 89 times and went to the WC Finals in 1994.  His tally of 89 caps was a national record until January 31, 2002

CM: Erwin Sanchez  
Nicknamed "Platini", Erwin Sanchez was among the greatest Bolivian players.  He was a graduate of Tahuichi Academy. He became the first Bolivian to join an European club when he signed for Benfica in 1990.  However, his career did not take off until he joined Portugal's Boavista in 1992.  He helped them to win the league title in 2001.  For the national team, he earned over 50 caps. He was an important player as Bolivia qualified for the World Cup  Finals in 1994.
Erwin Sanchez
AM: Carlos Aragonés 
Carlos Aragonés started his career in 1976 with Bolívar. Aragonés moved to Brazil in 1981 to play for Palmeiras. He moved to Coritiba in 1984, without successes.  He returned to Bolivia in 1985 and joined Destroyers.  He played 31 games for the Bolivia national team between 1977 and 1981, scoring 15 goals.  He is the third-placed Bolivia national teams all-time goalscorer.

AM: Julio César Baldivieso 
Nicknamed "El Emperador",  Baldivieso began his career playing for Wilstermann in 1987.  He joined Bolívar in 1992.  Later, he played around the world with Newell's Old Boys in Argentina, Yokohama Marinos in Japan, Barcelona Sporting Club and Deportivo Quevedo in Ecuador, Cobreloa in Chile, Al-Nasr in Saudi Arabia, Al-Wakra in Qatar and Caracas in Venezuela. Towards the end of his career he returned to Bolivia and played for The Strongest.  He had 85 caps and went to the WC Finals in 1994.

AM: Marco Etcheverry 
Marco Etcheverry was one of the best ever Bolivian player and one of the best players to have played in MLS. He was an important player as Bolivia beat Brazil in 1993 and qualified for their first World Cup Finals in 1994.  He was capped 71 times between 1989 and 2003.  For his professionbal career, he played in Spain, Colombia and Chile before he moved to MLS in 1996 where he was considered one of the greatest ever to play in the league. He won 3 MLS Cups with DC United.
Marco Etcheverry
AM: Erwin Romero
Nicknamed Chichi, Romero was a gifted midfield playmaker noted for his vision and ball control. Some of the clubs he played for include Oriente Petrolero, Quilmes, Blooming and Bolívar. Romero played for Bolivia in four World Cup qualifying campaigns- 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1990 as well as the 1979 and 1983 Copa América tournaments.

FW: Mario Alborta
Mario Alborta started playing football for Universitario de La Paz in 1920's.  From 1925 to 1939, he played for Bolívar. For international football, he went to 1926 and 1927 South American Championship.  He scored a goal against Argentia in the 1927 edition.  In 1930, he went to the World Cup Finals, held in Uruguay. Bolivia was eliminated after playing two games.

RW/FW: Ramiro Blacut 
Blacut was the hero of Copa America winning team of 1963, where he also won the Player of the Tournament. He played 23 times for Bolivia. between 1963 and 1972. During his career, he represented Club Bolívar and The Strongest as well as Argentine club Ferro Carril Oeste from 1963 to 1965. In addition, in 1965-66 he played with Bayern Munich. He was the first Bolivian to play in Europe. 

ST: Jaime Moreno
Jaime Moreno began his career at Club Blooming and then played for Colombia's Independiente Santa Fe before becoming the first Bolivian to play in the English Premier League.  He spent two seasons with the English club Middlesbrough.  In 1996, he joined DC United, playing with countryman Marco Etcheverry.  He spent 15 seasons in MLS, becoming its all-time leading scorer.  With DC United, he won 4 MLS Cups. From 1991 to 2008, Moreno played 75 matches for the Bolivia.
Jaime Moreno
ST: Joaquín Botero
He is the all-time record Bolivia national team's goalscorer and was the top goalscorer in world football in the 2002 season, with 49 goals scored for Club Bolívar.  In 2003, he played overseas.  In his career, he played for UNAM of Mexico, San Lorenzo of Argentina, Deportivo Táchira of Venezuela, Correcaminos UAT of Mexico and Al Arabi of Kuwait. He had 48 caps between 1999 and 2009. 

ST: Maximo Alcoer   
With the national team of Bolivia, Maximo Alcoer won the 1963 South American Championship and scored the winning goal versus Brazil in Bolivia's final match of the tournament in Cochabamba. He earned a total of 22 caps, scoring 13 goals. Alcócer played for Club Union Maestranza, Club Wilstermann and Club Aurora. 

ST: Victor Agustin Ugarte 
Victor Agustin Ugarte spent most of his career with Club Bolívar but he had a short spell with Argentine club San Lorenzo de Almagro in 1958 where he became the first Bolivian to play in the Argentine Primera. He also played for Once Caldas in Colombia.  He scored 16 goals in 45 caps for Bolivia, making him their second all-time top goalscorer. He helped his country to win the 1963 Copa America. The victory was the greatest achievement in Bolivia's football history.
Victor Agustin Ugarte 
Honorable Mention
Gustavo Quinteros, Francisco Takeo, Silvio Rojas, Mario Alborta, Jose Bustamante, Alberto Acha, Marcelo Martins.

Squad Explanation
-- Bolivia's greatest generation is from the 1990's, where they qualified the World Cup Finals in 1997 and reached the Final of the 1997 Copa America.  
-- From that generation, I had the following players on my all-time team: Marco Etcheverry, Carlos Trucco, Jamie Moreno, Juan Pena,  Oscar Sanchez, Luis Cristaldo, Miguel Rimba, Marco Sandy, Julio César Baldivieso, Erwin Sanchez, Carlos Fernando Borja, José Milton Melgar and Carlos Fernando Borja.  Most of the players came from the Tahuichi Academy.
-- Marco Etcheverry is one of the most underrated players in South America.  He showed brilliance in helping Bolivia to qualify for the 1994 World Cup Finals, but his exposure in the WC Finals was very limited.  Later, injuries cut his career short in Europe.  If he had better exposure outside the MLS, he might be rated much higher.
--Jamie Moreno played with Marco Etcheverry at DC United.  He does not get onto many all-time list for Bolivia.  However, he had played in Premiership and was one of the best ever players in MLS.  He has outdone many Bolivian players in his club career. I saw plenty of him while I was living in Washington, DC.
-- Erwin Sanchez perhaps had the best career in Europe for Bolivians.  Julio César Baldivieso also held a long career outside Bolivia.
-- Ronald Raldes is Bolivia's all-time cap holder while Joaquín Botero is Bolivia's all-time leading scorer.  They are the only players selected from the generation after the 1990's.
-- I do not know Mario Alborta.  His name came up in my research.
-- Ramiro Blacut (Bolivia) went to play in Germany during the 1960's, which was considered a big move for a Bolivian in that era. He also won the South American Championship in 1963, Bolivia's greatest achievement in football. He won the Player of the Tournament award. Wilfredo Camacho, Victor Agustin Ugarte and Maximo Alcoer made my all-time team.
-- Bolivia's 1950 World Cup team is unknown to me. Jose Bustamante and Alberto Acha are two names that I came upon. I put them as honourable mentions.  Goalkeeper Vicente Arraya made my team.  He is also the first Bolivian to play in the Argentinian league.
-- Bolivia also went to the 1930 World Cup Finals.  I knew very little about them.  I took Mario Alborta, but I actually do not know much about him. 

Starting lineup

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