Sport Áncash F.C.´s reappearance in Peru´s Second Division of Professional Football

F ounded on April the 22nd, 1967 under the name Club Deportivo Comunitario Laboral Sport Áncash, the team last played professional football in 2009 when they got relegated to the second division of Peruvian football after a five-year spell at the highest level. Sport Áncash, nicknamed Amenaza Verde (Green Threat) achieved the awaited promotion to the professional top division in the 2004 edition of the Peru Cup after beating Deportivo Municipal in the final. In the first leg at home in Huaraz the team won by 1-0 with a goal from Luis Bello. In the return match they beat the home side by 1-3 at the National Stadium in Lima on December the 26th, with goals from Renzo Benavides, Danfer Doy and Ysmael Regalado.

Under the leadership of manager Rafael Castaneda Sport Áncash started the Apertura very well with a 1-0 home win over Callao´s Sport Boys. During the Amenaza Verde´s debut season in the Campeonato Descentralizado 2005, the Huaraz side would stun the eventual winners Cienciano from Cusco at home with 2-1 by goals of Martín Menacho and Renzo Benavides. The legendary Alianza Lima were beaten in round 14 of the Apertura by 4-1, with goals from Diego Viera, Natalio Portillo (2x) and again Renzo Benavides. Sport Áncash would finish their Apertura and Clausura both at sixth place, thirteen points away from qualification for the Copa Sudamericana but on the Agreggate Table (Apertura and Clausura accumulated) they would stay two points above Alianza Lima. Natalio Portillo would become Sport Áncash´s top goal scorer with 11 goals.

The 2006 season saw Alianza Lima win the Apertura, where Sport Áncash ended in eighth position, two places and three points ahead of arch rivals José Gálvez from Chimbote. A ninetieth-minute equalizer against Alianza Lima by Natalio Portillo and a 2-1 win over Universitario were among the highlights of the Apertura 2006. Natalio Portillo would finish runner-up, with 10 goals in the Apertura top scorers behind Roberto Demus of Coronel Bolognesi. During the Clausura of 2006 Sport Áncash only managed to grab six wins including a 3-0 win against Universitario (Paulo Zabarbulo, Pablo Villar and Renzo Benavides) on October the 22nd, and a 1-0 win on the 10th of December against Alianza Lima, the only goal made by Jean Tragodara. On the Aggregate Table, Sport Áncash ended just two points above the relegation playoff spot.

At a professional level, 2007 proved to be Sport Áncash best season. They ended up third in the Apertura behind opening stage winner Universidad San Martín de Porres from Lima and second place Cienciano. In the Clausura the Amenaza Verde ended in sixth place, only three points behind winner Coronel Bolognesi from Tacna. On the Aggregate Table Sport Áncash would come third, level on points with La U but with a better goal difference. Alianza Lima dropped to fifth on the table as four points were deducted for failure to pay wages to players. Richar Estigarribia from Paraguay would finish the opening and closing season with a record of 19 goals. After this season he would leave Huaraz for the promoted second division champion Universidad César Vallejo from Trujillo. Richar Mariano Estigarribia Ortega is currently playing for Club Sportivo San Lorenzo in the Primera División of Paraguay.

The opening match of the 2008 season was against Alianza Lima. Sport Áncash won the match with the smallest difference with a goal from Orlando Allende in the sixtieth minute. Sport Áncash would finally win nine matches ending second to last in the table. They also had two points deducted by the Peruvian Football Association for debts. The Clausura, however, under the Uruguayan manager Antonio Alzamendi who replaced Colombian coach Jose “Chepe” Torres, would revive Sport Áncash. However, because of economic problems, Alzamendi resigned a couple of matches before the Clausura tournament ended. Manager Eduardo Asca finished the season in third place, and sixth overall. Brazilian Ronaille Calheira Seará would become the club´s top scorer with 16 goals, although some websites state he made one goal less. Calheira would join Apartura winners Universitario de Deportes the next season. Highlight during the 2008 season was the team´s first and only international representation in South America. In the first round of the Copa Sudamericana they beat Ñublense from Chile (4-1 on aggregate), to be knocked out by Brazilian giants Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras who would win their 22nd Brazilian title with a 6-0 victory on aggregate in the finals over Ponte Preta later that year.

In 2009, disaster struck as the Amenaza Verde got relegated and played in the Peruvian Second Division until 2013 when they were taken out of the competition because of outstanding debts by the Asociación Deportiva de Fútbol Profesional. During those years at the second to highest level in the Peruvian football pyramid, Sport Áncash Fútbol Club even reached second place in 2010; however, not enough to get promoted. As mentioned, in 2013 Sport Áncash were taken out of the Segunda División del Perú because of debts. Argentine-born Natalio Wenceslao Portillo Herrera is still the club’s all-time top scorer with 38 goals at the highest level. Their last reasonable results were in 2015 during the Copa Peru when the team managed to reach the quarterfinals and were eliminated by Cristal from Tumbes. Because of its good position in the overall standings and having reached the last stages of the national competition, Sport Áncash were invited to participate in the Second Division for the 2016 season, an offer that was accepted by the board (read: club owner Mr. Mallqui).

Thanks to the payment of U$ 100,000 to the Federación Peruana de Fútbol (Peruvian Football Federation) Sport Áncash Fútbol Club are participating in Peru´s Second Division this year, a payment that all participating teams had to make to be able to compete. Sport Áncash have signed a couple of free transfers to strengthen the squad but are restricted to the rules of the Asociación Deportiva de Fútbol Profesional Segunda División that subscribes that each team in the Second Division needs to have at least four under-25 players on the pitch during a match. Of those four players, one needs to be an under-20 player. La Amenaza Verde was initially trained by manager Francisco Melgar Roose (42) and his assistant Giancarlo Riega. Melgar Roose was born in Lima and previously managed Atlético Minero (2010), Sport Áncash (2011), Sporting Cristal as caretaker for five matches (2011 – 2013) and Deportivo Municipal (2015 – 2016) although he resigned after four matches leaving Huaraz for the Peruvian Football Federation, where he assumed a manager position in the futsal team. Francisco Melgar was succeeded by Víctor Bullón and his assistant Pedro Sanguineti.

Víctor Bullón started poorly; he lost his first match as manager of Sport Áncash F.C. as he lost away to Deportivo Coopsol from Chancay. Earlier in the pre match season, Sport Áncash had a reasonable preparation as sparring partner and department rival José Gálvez from Chimbote were beaten by two goals to nil. Earlier friendly matches of the Amenaza Verde were against Sport Boys from Callao (1-0 home win) and Sport Áncash also drew against their Huaraz rivals Sport Rosario (0-0).

The Peruviuan Second Division (because of sponsor purposes called the Torneo de Segunda División Copa Best Cable 2016) started, however, below par for the boys in yellow and green as they couldn’t hit the ground running in their opening match away from home against Alianza Universidad. The match played at the Heraclio Tapia León stadium in Huánuco was won by a header in the 16th minute. Alianza Universidad were fortuned with a precise free kick, directed at the head of Charles Quinto, to realise the winning goal, which finally gave the Huánuco team their first win of the season, leaving Sport Áncash empty handed.

Despite having a tough draw for its first couple of matches in the Peruvian Second Division, the start of Sport Áncash F.C. was not bad. A week later, three points were collected against Academia Cantolao from Callao. Deportiva Cantolao have a great youth setup and are known for being a seedbed for future Peruvian stars. Claudio Pizarro, Luis Guadalupe, Reimond Manco, Néstor Duarte, Carlos Zambrano, Juan Pajuelo, Juan Carlos Mariño, Donny Neyra and Paolo de la Haza all came through the youth ranks of the runner-up of the Copa Perú 2015; however, Sport Áncash won the match played at the Rosas Pampa stadium with three goals to one.

A week later, the local boys of Sport Áncash played relegated Cienciano from Cusco at the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega stadium at an altitude of over 3,400 metres. The 42,000-seater stadium was nearly empty as former Áncash player Richard Estigarribia scored a home goal four minutes before half time. Before their meeting with Sport Áncash F.C., Club Cienciano del Cusco hadn’t won a single match since their relegation from the Primera División del Perú although in 2003 the club became the first and only Peruvian club to win international titles. However, Cienciano would have to settle for a draw as Emilio Gutiérrez scored the equalizer in the 61st minute. A week after the draw, Cienciano sacked their manager and appointed Oscar Manuel Ibáñez Holzmann, a former Peruvian international of Volga German descent.

The fourth round of the Peruvian Second Division of professional football saw Sport Áncash F.C. providing an entertaining match. Carlos A. Mannucci from Trujillo, however, took the lead after 16 minutes with a goal from Brazilian Fernando Oliveira, a goal that silenced the home crowd for a couple of minutes. The first half was mainly dominated by the visitors from Trujillo that demonstrated great skills and ball control, where the Huaraz-based team were losing possession too much. The second half, on the other hand, started with a tactical substitution, Manager Francisco Melgar left Jordan Ccapacca behind in the dressing room during half time and replaced him for Velarde. A second substitution was made in the 72nd minute and three minutes later Jankarlo Chirinos sealed a spot kick. A minute before the equalizer, Velarde was brought down in the penalty area by Mannucci and Argentine-born defender Leandro Fleitas. While the home crowd was shouting ¨sí se puede, sí se puede¨, Sport Áncash F.C. started to believe more and more that a victory would be possible, despite the fact that the visitors had dominated most of the game.
In the 80th minute, Einer ¨el Chiwi¨ Vásquez ensured the Amenaza Verde of its second win of the season. Victor Cartagena, captain of Sport Áncash said afterwards that it didn’t matter that the team didn’t play that well, they got what the team wanted, three points. Sport Áncash F.C. collected seven points from four matches and jumped to fifth spot. The following away game, however, was lost with 3-1 against Deportivo Coopsol which left Sport Áncash still three points from a spot that gains promotion.

We were informed that Víctor Bullón has been replaced by Jorge Amado Nunes Infrán from Paraguay although he was born in Argentina. Nunes (age 54) was part of the Paraguay national football team that competed in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and may now try to get Sport Áncash to the Premier Division. The debut of Nunes took place on the 2nd of June against local rivals Sport Rosario, Sport Áncash would win the Huaraz derby with two goals to one.

People interested in visiting a match of the Amenaza Verde could go to the following link and check out the dates and times. Sport Áncash should be able to take advantage of their home matches as those are played at the Rosas Pampa stadium at 3,090 meters above sea-level.

For those willing to bring back the glory days of the Amenaza Verde but can´t wait until the new season starts or those who would like to change history, Sport Áncash appeared in Football Manager 2010 (FM10), the year they got relegated.

Photo: screen shot Football Manager 2010

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