The rise and fall of Sport Ancash: 12 months of mayhem

L ast Sunday, Sport Ancash F.C. ended a run of 12 games without a win to claim only their second victory of the season, a 1-0 win over struggling Centro Cultural Deportivo Los Caimanes from Puerto Eten. Manager Alejandro Guerrero will be hoping that, 19 games in, this kickstarts a run of form that will help them make up some ground. Ancash currently sit bottom of the table, a point behind their nearest competitors, Defensor La Bocana. This is the result of a season of abject performances, and a two point deduction incurred by the club for not submitting their earnings report for April 2017.

Their demise follows their controversial defeat at the hands of Academia Deportiva Cantolao (ADC) last December. Sport Ancash are currently appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (French: Tribunal arbitral du sport, TAS) on the grounds that ADC fielded two ineligible players, Jefferson Collazos and Daniel Martin. Had Ancash won, they would currently be benefitting from first division football and the crowds that come with it; this season’s average attendance stands at a lowly 1,400, well below league average, a statistic made more painful in the backdrop of Huaraz’s 18,000 seat Rosas Pampa Stadium.

As it was, ADC were promoted to Peru’s Primera División, leaving Ancash to slug it out once again in the Segunda, with one eye on their football and one eye on their appeal. This lack of focus may have lent itself to some of their uninspired performances this year.

Defeats to fellow minnows Willy Serato, as well as a crushing 5-1 defeat by Alfredo Salinas, have kept them at the bottom. An inspired mid-season performance against table-topping Sport Boys still ended in a 3-2 defeat, and that was part of a run that included a 4-0 battering by Cienciano. Quite simply, Sport Ancash have struggled for goals, scoring a division low 13 in 19 matches. Star striker Charún and the ageing Calheira have struggled to contribute, whilst the Ancash midfield has helped out with one solitary goal, from 22 year old Robles. Having also conceded 38, they boast the division’s worst goal difference record by some distance.

This Sunday they face Defensor La Bocana, which is, quite simply, a must win game. The match is a 6 pointer; lose it, and they may have to start planning for the Copa Perú again (Peru´s professional football has no third division but a rather strange national amateur cup). They can take heart, however, in having won the reverse fixture 2-0 back in May.

Of course, this could all be thrown into complete chaos should the TAS overrule last year’s play-off result, and a verdict is expected by the end of the month. If they rule in Sport Ancash’s favour, then the league faces the logistical headache of promoting a relegation threatened team into the top division in 2018.

The highs and lows of the Peruvian Second Division are what makes it exciting. This year, Sport Boys from Callao sit atop the table having finished 14th in 2016, whilst Sport Victoria from Ica are also enjoying much greater fortunes. It’s great for the neutral fan, but those loyal to Sport Ancash F.C. will wish they didn’t have to be at the centre of the drama.

For now though, Sport Ancash need to focus on their football whilst they wait for a potentially season changing phone call.

Text: Frederick Clayton
Picture: Áncash Noticias

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