Players for struggling Bolivian soccer team attacked, have cars vandalized
Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Aug 23 (EFE).- A group of apparently disgruntled fans on Tuesday invaded the practice pitch and attacked players for struggling Bolivian first-division soccer club Blooming before vandalizing nearly a score of vehicles.
The incident occurred at the club’s headquarters in the eastern city of Santa Cruz just minutes after the introduction of new head coach Victor Hugo “Tucho” Antelo, whose predecessor, Argentina’s Nestor Clausen, had been fired after just nine days.
The pitch invaders interrupted a training session, set off firecrackers and violently reproached the players for their poor results in the first-division’s Clausura tournament.
They even used a whip-like object to strike some of the players, with a photo in the local media showing Uruguayan midfielder Fernando Arismendi with a red lash mark on his back.
After making their way to the headquarters’ parking area, the attackers defaced and punctured the tires of 17 vehicles.
The club’s management issued a statement Tuesday saying it “laments and condemns” the incidents that occurred earlier in the day and expressing its full support for Antelo and his staff and Blooming’s players.
“The pertinent investigations will be conducted. We offer our solidarity and will ensure the necessary conditions for them to fully and safely carry out their work,” the statement read.
With 11 games played, Blooming have just 11 points and are currently in 13th place out of 16 teams in the Clausura tournament.
The Pascaneros have lost three consecutive games, two of them under the tutelage of Clausen, who was introduced as the club’s manager on Aug. 13 and was sacked on Monday after a 5-0 away loss to second-place Always Ready and a 3-1 defeat at home to seventh-place Guabira.
During his presentation to members of the media, Antelo said he is taking the reins of the team “with a lot of enthusiasm (and) a lot of responsibility,” fully aware that “Blooming is a great team” that finds itself in a difficult situation.
The new manager said the club has very good players and his task now is to diagnose the current situation and determine what is going wrong.
The first challenge facing Antelo, who has signed a contract through June 2023, is a Matchday 12 encounter against Clausura leader The Strongest in La Paz on Wednesday. EFE