Bolivia. Magisterio Rural (Sucre) won promotion from the Second Level. In the First Division, there was dramatic battle of the weakest – in the 1st Phase of the championship two teams finished far bellow the other 12: Primero de Mayo (Potosi) and Independiente Petrolero (Sucre), both with 10 points. Goal-difference favoured Primero de Mayo, although they won only match. Independiente Petrolero was relegated. 8 of the 14 first division teams proceeded to the 2nd Phase and among those unable to qualify was J. Wilstermann (Cochabamba). Since the second team from the city – Petrolero – finished behind J. Wilstermann, Cochabamba had only single team having a go the title race – Aurora. La Paz proceeded with 3 out of 4 teams moving ahead, Santa Cruz also had 3 out of their 4 first division teams going ahead, and the single representative of Oruro also qualified.

4 teams were out after the second phase, in which the participants played in 2 round-robin groups: this phase was end of hopes for San Jose (Oruro),

Chaco Petrolero (La Paz), Guabira (Santa Cruz), and Aurora (Cochabamba).

In the semi-finals Oriente Petrolero eliminated Blooming (Santa Cruz) – 0-0 and 1-0, and

The Strongest (La Paz) lost to Bolivar 0-1 and 3-3.

Thus, the final opposed Bolivar and Oriente Petrolero, a two-leg final. Bolivar won the home game in La Paz 2-1, but lost in hostile Santa Cruz 1-5. However, goal-difference was not a tie-breaker and third match was scheduled. Now Bolivar once again extracted minimal victory – 2-1 – but it was enough.

One may argue Oriente Petrolero (Santa Cruz) was unlucky. They finished 4th in the opening full-league phase (which was won by their city rivals Blooming), but stepped up in the 2nd phase, winning Group B – Bolivar was 2nd, although they were behind Oriente Petrolero only on worse goal-difference. It was the final, which was clearly unfair – Oriente Petrlolero simply destroyed their opponents in the second leg, but since they lost the first leg, there was one more match to be played – and they lost. So close, but not champions at the end.

Who would criticize winners? Bolivar (La Paz) won its 9th title – it was not easy season, but overall they were the most consistent team during the whole year – 2nd in the 1st Phase, 2nd in the 2nd Phase, reaching the final with least number of lost games – only 3. Oriente Petrolero, in a sharp contrast, lost 9 games so far – 8 in the 1st Phase. The only blemish came in the second leg of the final, where Bolivar lost 1-5 and looked like they lost the momentum and the title – but they came back in the third match and won the most important victory of the season. Not overwhelming, but steady and consistent – if one looks at the whole picture of the year, the most deserving team.


Ecuador – the usual South American complexity: the championship went through 3 different stages until the champion was proclaimed. And, similarly, the relegated. Small top division – 14 teams, largely concentrated in Quito (6 clubs) and Guayaquil (3 clubs). Those were the main powers and protagonists, however, times were changing – Everest was in decline and trouble and almost unknown club was moving up, Filanbanco.

Second level was hidden from sight, but there were clubs previously playing top level football.

Deportivo Cuenca, for instance.

Filanbanco, however, won the Second Division championship – and moved up. But Filanbanco was to be heard of in South America, if nowhere else, later in the 1980s.

Everest (Guayaquil) was the big disappointment this year – they were consistently last. And relegated, as a result. One of the traditional leaders of Ecuadorian football.

Emelec (Quito) was the other disappointment – they were technically 8th at the end of the season .

The third club in dire straits hailed from Manta – financial hardship was the likeliest reason. Formerly known as Delfin, now they played under the name Manta-Sport It was not so bad for the moment, but for how long? 6th in the final table.

LDU (Portoviejo) on the other hand was climbing up – they finished 4th, improving with every next stage of the championship. They did better than their traditionally stronger and much more famous namesakes LDU (Quito). However, it is difficult the figure out why… in the second stage Portoviejo finished bellow Quito. True, only on worse goal-difference, but bellow.

Yet, LDU (Quito) did not reach the third stage of the championship and technically took 7th place – or rather should have been 7th, if there was full final table. They were not a factor at any stage, so 7th was pretty much their objective finish.

Barcelona (Quito) did well as usual, yet, not exceptionally well – 4th in the opening stage, 1st in the second stage, but 3rd in the most important final stage – and 3rd overall.

Barcelona was left behind by a club hardly ever in leading position: 9 de Octubre (Milagro). One more provincial club disturbing the status quo. Wonderful season, except for the second stage, where they finished 7th – perhaps saving strength for the final round. But teams coming up from nowhere are rarely able to win – 9 de Octubre came close, but 2nd place was their proper position.

As for the champions, they were familiar name – more than familiar. El Nacional (Quito), one of the strongest traditional favourites was going solidly strong. 1st in the opening stage, 2nd in the second stage, and 1st again in the final stage, deciding the championship.

So, champions again. Standing from left: Orlando Narváez, Wilson Armas, José Jacinto Vega, Milton Rodriguez, Marcelo Proaño, Hans Maldonado, Manuel Ron (Utilero).

Front row: Carlos Ron, Gonzalo Cajas, Victor Mora, Fernando Baldeón, Fabián Paz, Miño.

The players hardly ring any bells outside Ecuador, but they won the title in 1982 and repeated the success in 1983. Their Brazilian coach Roberto Abruzzesse deserves the credit, naturally. So, El Nacional was staying strong to the envy of its declining rivals.


Mysterious – and simultaneously familiar – Paraguay. 1983 is particularly frustrating: scarce records. Atletico Colegiales and Oriental supposedly won the Second Division championship, but they also participated in the First Division. Little was known about Paraguayan football back than and litle is known now.

Clubs, like Sport Colombia, were unheard of – it was only sure that they were not members of the small top league.

Which played championship of stages, just to make the most of the small size – 10 participants, most of them from Asuncion and playing top league football practically forever. 6 teams reached the final stage, the final table had no clear winner and championship play-off between 3 teams followed.

Nacional, along with Cerro Porteno were not among of the favourites this year.

It may have been very frustrating for Cerro Porteno – without a victory since 1977 and seemingly getting worse.

The championship play-off was played between Libertad, Sportivo Luqueno, and Olimpia. Libertad finished 3rd.

Sportivo Luqueno ended 2nd – strong year, but unable to win the title. Julio Cesar Romero was the big figure, although another name would be instantly recognized today: Jose Luis Chilavert. However, in real time the famous goalkeeper was still young back-up goalkeeper and another Chilavert was regular – Rolando Marciano Chilavert, young and talented striker. In the long run, though… fame changed significantly.

May be challenged and winning only after a play-off, but Olimpia won once again. The familiar name of Paraguayan football, perhaps the only familiar club. And the players were also familiar – the starters were practically the same for years. The incredible run of this squad continued – 6th consecutive title. It was never done before in Paraguay, but the team, unchanged since 1977, was getting old.

Peru I Division

First Division – one of the least complicated championships in South America. The league was going to be reduced again from 17 to 16 teams, so 2 teams were relegated. This was decided by the final table of the first stage of the championship – the Decentralised Tournament. After every team played 32 games there was final table – the lowest 2 were relegated, the top 6 proceeded to play the title decisive Championship Group tournament.

Leon De Huanuco was last with 20 points and relegated.

Juan Aurich was 16th with 22 points and also relegated.

Alfonso Ugarte survived – 15th with 23 points.

Huancayo FC – 14th with 24 points. Standing from left: Carlos Castro, Cisterna, Ernesto Herrera, Raul Torres, Orlando Mendoza, Arturo Garcia.

Crouching: José Pajuelo, Morales, Luis Servat, Jose Ocampo, Jorge Burger.

Union Huaral – 13th with 25 points. Standing from left: Cesar Carrillo, Adán Ciurlizza, Pedro Paredes, Hilario Bernaola, Victor Espinoza, Juan Caceres

Front row: Sergio Silva, Eloy Ortiz, Humberto Rey Muñoz, Luis Rehder, Enrique Camacho.

Coronel Bolognesi – 12th with 27 points.

Atletico Chalaco – 11th with 28 points. Standing from left: Carlos “Sérpico” Rivas, Alberto Eugenio, Goyzueta, Eder Ríos, Aldo Dueñas, Oscar Peralta.

Front row: Alejandro Pozú, Percy Gómez, José Lavalle, Adhemir Arroé, Jesús Sabastizaga.

A. D. T. – 10th with 29 points. Standing from left: Rowland Chumpitaz, Rinaldo Quesada, Lizandro Navarro, Armando Carrizales, Alejandro Mujica, Roger Valdivia.

Front row: Víctor Barzola, César Aguilar, Peña, Rolando Echegara, Kiko Bendezú.

Terrible season for Alianza (Lima) – 9th with 31 points. Standing from left: Jaime Duarte, Pedro Belber, Tomás Farfán, Juan Illescas, Simón Olea, José Velásquez, José Gonzáles Ganoza.

Front row: William Huapaya, Jorge Olaechea, Guillermo La Rosa, Freddy Ravello.

U.T.C. – 8th with 33 points.

Sport Boys – 7th with 28 points. Standing from left: Carlos Carbonell, Luis Cárdenas, Eusebio Salazar, César Guerrero, César Espino, Darío Herrera.

First row: Juan José Muñante, David Zuluaga, Héctor La Torre, Víctor Hurtado, Nalvarte.

And the top 6, qualifying to the final tournament: Atletico Torino – 6th with 39 points, Deportivo Municipal – 5th with 40 points, C.N.I. – 4th with 40 points, Universitario – 3rd with 40 points, Sporting Cristal – 2nd with 41 points, and FBC Melgar – first with 44 points.

The Championship Group was round-robin tournament, opponents meeting once. The teams started clean, no points were carried over from the Decentralised Tournament. And whoever managed to preserve strength earlier and to reach top form at this stage had the advantage.

Atletico Torino was the weakest and finished last with 1 point.

C.N.I. – 5th with 2 points. Standing from left: Víctor Vargas, Israel Quijandría, Freddy Cañamero, Florentino Bernaola, Mikel Ramírez Púa, César “Huevo” Adriazola, Oscar Vera.

Crouching: Roberto Arrelucea, Martín Gago, Mario Gutiérrez, Juan Rivero, Ernesto Guillén, Ernesto “Chivo” Neyra, Wilson “Calamina” Ramírez, Nehemías Mera, Ricardo Vinatea.

Deportivo Municipal – 4rd with 5 points. Standing from left: Gamarra, Malásquez, Mendoza, Garrido, Quintana, Manzo.

Front row: Zorrilla, Navarro, Gonzáles, Bonelli, Camacho.

Universitario – 3rd with 7 points. Back row from left: Hugo Gastulo, Juan Carlos Jaime, Germán Leguía, Eduardo Aguilar, Raúl Garcia, Luis Gardella.

Front row: Carlos Espósito, Eduardo Rey Muñoz, Bira, Samuel Eugenio, José Cañamero.

FBC Melgar – 2nd with 9 points. Unable to continue the strong performance in the first part of the championship, but still stronger than most, finishing second best and getting the second Peruvian spot in the Libertadores Cup. Standing from left: Jorge Ramirez, Jesús Oviedo, Julio Ramirez, Raúl Obando, Freddy Bustamante, Angel Gutiérrez.

Crouching: José Aguayo, Víctor Concha, Reynaldo  Jaime, Genaro Neyra, Víctor Gutiérrez.

Not only familiar, but truly supreme champions – Sporting Cristal (Lima) won every match they played in the Championship Group – a perfect record of 5 of 5, scoring 13 goals and receiving just 4. Nothing to compare with the second best – FBC Melgar ended with 11-11 goal difference. Sporting Cristal were the highest scorers all year long – they outscored FBC Melgar by 22 goals in the Decentralised Tournament. They lost only 5 games during the whole year – Universitario lost 6, FBC Melgar – 8. Only FBC Melgar won more games than them – 21; Sporting Cristal won 19. More than well done! And one more title. Here are the heroes: standing from left: Pedro Ruíz, Miguel Gutiérrez, Héctor Chumpitaz, Uculmana, César “Chalaca” Gonzáles, Humberto Valdettaro.

First row: Luis Reyna, Enrique Boné, Juan Caballero, Jorge Hirano,Julio Aliaga.

One must admire the seemingly eternal Hector Chumpitaz – still the champion, a guarantee for success.

Argentina Nacional

Campeonato Nacional – different formula, different clubs, different outcomes. Here various provincial clubs had their chance, here failures in Metropolitano tried to save face. Rather difficult for evaluation championship, but one thing was sure – very few Argentinian clubs had really strong teams, able to play well two championships in a single year. 36 teams were divided into 8 round-robin groups, the top three qualifying to the next round. Which was also made of 8 round-robin groups, but of 3 teams each – they played also three times against each other. The top two qualified for the 1/8 finals and the championship followed standard cup format to the end – direct eliminations to the final, played in two legs.

No surprises at first – almost every initial group had true outsider and there was chance for a big club to exit at this stage: 3 out of 4 were going ahead. All eliminated were anonymous teams:

Andino (La Rioja) – Group A with 2 points,

Chaco For Ever (Resistencia) – Group B with 3 points,

Atletico Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa) – Group C with 0 points, the only team unable to make even a tie,

Estudiantes (Rio Cuarto) – Group D with 1 point, Union San Vicente (Cordoba) – Group E with 1 point,

Kimberley (Mar del Plata) – Group F with 2 points, Atletico Concepcion (Banda del Rio Sali) – Group G with 4 points, and Gimnasia y Esgrima (Mendoza) – Group H with 4 points. Only the last two came close to a chance for qualifying to the next round.

Second step – 24 teams, divided into 8 3-team groups. The last in each group was eliminated after the teams played 3 games against each other. This stage was more intriguing. The end of hopes for: Instituto (Cordoba) – group A, Nueva Chicago (Buenos Aires) – group B,

San Lorenzo de Almagro (Buenos Aires) – group C. Standing from left: Sosa, Videla, Insúa, Quiroga, Higuaín, Hrabina, Quinteros.

First row: Bueno, Coudannes, Rubens Navarro.

Huracan (Buenos Aires) – group D. But this was strange group – Huracan was eliminated only on worse goal-difference. They finished with 5 points and 2-2. Union (Santa Fe) was second with 5 points and 7-6. First in the group finished Platense (Vicente Lopez) with 6 points and negative goal-difference – 8-13! Apparently, they won their home matches and lost all away games – and 3 wins and 3 posses, no matter how bad, gave them not just qualifying spot, but the first place in the group. Amusing ending.


Altos Hornos Zapla (Ciudad de Palpala) was last in group E – they did well, reaching this round of the championship, but no more.

Juventud Antoniana (Salta) was last in group G, unable to get even a single point at this stage. In the same group another unheard of club reigned supreme – Loma Negra (Olavarria). They won their group in the first round, now they did it again, even more comfortably – 4 wins, 2 ties, 16-3.

In group H Renato Cesarini (Rosario) was also – like Juventud Antoniana, they lost all matches, only ending with slightly better goal-difference than Juventud Antoniana – it did no matter, they were out.

1/8 finals. Some statistic discrepancy – results given for Cordoba’s derby, Atletico Racing vs Talleres, are wrong: 2-2 and 0-5. Looks like easy win for Talleres? But Atletico Racing qualified to the ¼ finals… after extra time and penalty shoot out after the match statistically lost 0-5. Must have been a tie really and numbers mixed-up: Atletico Racing won 5-3 the penalty shoot-out.


End of the line for Ferro Carril Oeste – they were eliminated by Estudiantes (La Plata): 0-1 and 2-2.

Independiente (Avellaneda) and Union (Santa Fe) exchanged away wins – in both legs the visiting team won 1-0, so there was extra time and penalty shoot-out. Only then Independiente prevailed – 6-5.

The Cinderella story of Loma Negra (Olavarria) ended here, but not before the second leg against Racing Club (Avellaneda). So far, lowly Loma Negra was great surprise – they won their qualifying groups in both early stages of the championship. They came to inhospitable stadium of Racing and won 2-1. With one match on home turf, Loma Negra seemed bound to play at the ¼ finals at least. But it was not to be – Racing Club arrived determined to win and they did it with powerful 4-0.

Velez Sarsfield (Buenos Aires) was eliminated by River Plate by a single goal – 0-1 and 0-0. Standing from left: Moralejo, Ciciuffo, Pumpido, Ischia.

First row: Bujedo, Vanemerak, Nannini, Bianchi, Alonso, Comas, Larraquy.

Newell’s Old Boys (Rosario) was beaten by city rivals Rosario Central 0-2 and 0-0.

Platense (Vicente Lopez) lost to Temperley – they managed a scoreless tie in the first leg, when the visited, but lost the home leg 1-2.

And Boca Juniors finished at this stage – they tied the away leg against Argentinos Juniors 1-1 and lost the home leg 2-3.

The ¼ finals were tough and there were more casualties:

River Plate was out, losing to Argentinos Juniors – 0-0 and 0-1. Once again, the losing team did better in the opening leg, when they were visitors, and then lost at home.

Racing Club lost the first match in La Plata 1-3 and they won the home leg, but the victory was not enough – 2-1. Estudiantes qualified.

Atletico Racing tried their best to move ahead and almost succeeded – both games against Independiente ended 1-1. Extra time did not change the result and Atletico Racing stepped down after at the penalty shoot-out: 2-4. Independiente qualified again with more luck than skill.

Lastly, Rosario Central vs Temperley. Rosario Central was not exactly strong this year, but historically Temperley was never strong – under the circumstances, one rather strange team was going to the semi-finals. Temperley won their home leg 1-0 and managed to keep its fragile lead in the second match in Rosario – 1-1.

The semi-finals opposed Temperley to Estudiantes and Independiente to Argentinos Juniors.

Temperley may have been the weakest semifinalist, statistically speaking, but they were not going to give up – far from it! They managed 1-1 tie visiting Estudiantes. The second leg also ended 1-1. But no miracle – Estudiantes, stronger and more experienced anyway, prevailed with 2 unanswered goals in the extra time. Still, it was wonderful season for Temperley – one to be remembered.

Argentinos Juniors was also looking like finalist after the first semi-final leg – they won 2-1 in Avellaneda. But Independiente came back in the second leg and won 2-0. Argentinos Juniors was out. Standing from left: Landucci, A. Herrera, Domenech, Pavoni, Batista, Fillol.

First row: Castro, Pasculli, S. Espindola, C. Villalba, R. Gallett.

Not a bad squad at all and too bad they were eliminated. And a curious touch: the add on Espindolla’s shirt is misplaced.

Finals at last. Estudiantes vs Independiente. Whatever unusual results appeared so far, no surprise teams at the final – two big names. Estiduantes took 2-0 lead in the first leg, played in front of home crowd. Independiente came back in the second match, but Estudiantes managed to score and the match ended 2-1. Goal-difference was in Estduiantes favour – they were the champions of the 1983 Campeonato Nacional.

So close, but empty-handed at the end. Standing from left: Carlos Goyén, Zimmermann, Enzo Héctor Trossero, Hugo Villaverde, Claudio Oscar Marangoni, Carlos Enrique.

Crouching: Enrique Sánchez, Ricardo Giusti, Jorge Luis Burruchaga, Ricardo Enrique Bochini, José Alberto Percudani.

Independiente was unable to win a double this year – disappointing, of course, but not much. They were clearly the strongest Argentine team at the moment – champions of Metropolitano, second in Nacional, a good squad of largely new stars. Independiente was remarkably consistent – the most consistent club in the country, for all other big clubs fluctuated up and down – Independiente was evenly strong since the end of the 1960s.


Estudiantes won the title and that was great – they won Nacional for the first time, but there was more to it: Estudiantes won Metropolitano in 1982, now they won Nacional. Not accidental winners, that was sure – finally, a new strong period arrived. After a long drought, one may add – Estudiantes lost its glory after the end of the 1960s, there last title before 1982 was in 1967. Now they were back and the team was not bad at all – Russo, Trobbiani, Ponce, Sabella. Not first rate stars and may be getting old, but still good enough core of a team – if not better, at least at par with the other strong teams. Well done so far, but the team needed additional talent to keep a leading place – so, it was a matter of quick reaction and not missing the moment. However, money was the deciding issue… management was probably well aware of the needs and knew what to do – if they could afford it.



Peru II Division

Peru. The second level was a bit mysterious: statistical records tell that Barcelona Surquillo (Lima) won the Second Division. But there was no Second Division. Or was there? May be the district of Lima had Second Division – similar to Argentine Metropolitano Second Division. However, when it came to promotion to the First Division, Copa Peru served as second level – in it every administrative department of the country had a represent, qualified to the national level after many preliminary rounds in the home department. 24 teams plus the relegated from the top league team in the previous year – 25 teams in total. After two qualifying rounds 6 teams reached the final round-robin tournament and the winner was not only the winner of Copa Peru, but promoted to the top league too. In case teams finished with equal points, the result of their direct match decided who was higher in the final table. So, the final table, providing the home department of every team:


Real Madrid (Camana, department Arequipa) – 6th with 1 point.

Cienciano (Cusco, Cusco) – 5th with 4 points,

Juventud La Joya (Chancay, Lima) – 4th with 4 points,

Barcelona Surguillo (Lima, Lima) – 3rd with 7 points,

Deportivo Canana (Lambayeque, Lambayeque) – 2nd with 7 points, and

Sport Pilsen (Guadelupe, La Libertad) – 1st with 7 points.

Big success for Sport Pilsen – promotion to First Division. Unheard of winners, which, judging by the name, were tightly connected with a beer brewery. Since one of the strongest Peruvian clubs was also connected with brewers – Sporting Cristal – the next year promised a beer derby.


Colombia. The champion came out of complicated formula – first was the Apertura or Copa de la Paz championship. It was followed by Clausura or Torneo Nacional. Then a bonus table was made – the top teams in each championship got bonus points – which were very strange: from 1 whole point down to 0.25 point. And after that the top 8 teams played a final championship – Octagonal Final, where the bonus points were counted and the end of this smaller championship was effectively the final table and the winner in it – the champion of Colombia. As in many similarly complicated championships, there were teams strong in the first half of the year and others preferring to reach top from late in the year, when it was truly important.

Apertura had no true final, but ‘extra series’, where the top teams of the original two groups in which the league was split, played 2 more games – it was odd: not a full round-robin tournament, but the after the two extra games there was final mini-table.

Atletico Junior got 1 point in the extra series, DIM Medellin – 2,

Millonarios – 2 points, and Once Caldas – 3. This extra points made Once Caldas the winner.

Once Caldas – the winner of Apertura/ Copa de la Paz.

The final four also got bonus points, according to their final place – Once Caldas – 1 point, Atletico Junior – 0.75, DIM – 0.50, and Millonarios – 0.25 points.

Campeonato Nacional promptly followed and it final table in way was important only for the bottom 6 places this year – the top 8 still had to play.

Deportes Quindio finished last with 13 points.

Cucuta Deportivo – 13th with 14 points.

Atletico Bucaramanga – 12th with 18 points. Dark period for the club, which fans prefer not to remember.

Deportes Tolima – 11th with 19 points. A big drop from the succesfful previous season to insignificance.

Once Caldas – 10th with 24 points. Apparently, everything was spent in the Apertura and the second half of the year was just woolgathering.

Union Magdalena – 9th with 24 points. ‘Didi’ Alex Valderama was still more famous than young boom Carlos ‘Pibe’ Valderama, but no matter – the team was weak this year.

That was final for the above teams – the top 8 were going to the final championship, so only the winner of Clausura should be mentioned now:

Atletico Nacional, 1st with 37 points. Standing from left: Jorge Lagomarcino (preparador físico-q.e.p.d), José Luis Brown, Hugo Lorenzo Carrabs Finno, Sergio”Bocha” Santín Spinelli, Luis Fernando Suárez Guzmán, Santiago”Sachi” Escobar Saldarriaga, Luis Fernando López Yépes, Guillermo Claudio”Tanque” La Rosa Laguna, Víctor Emilio Luna Gómez, Jaime Night Agamez, Fabio Alberto”Gallina” Calle González, Anibal”Maño” Ruíz (asistente técnico) Luis Alberto Cubilla Almeida (director técnico-q.e.p.d).

Middle row: Víctor Jaramillo, Carlos Alberto Aristizábal Correa, Silvio”Chino” Padilla, Juan Jairo”Andino”Galeano Restrepo, Pedro Enrique Sarmiento Solís, Álvaro “Polo” Mondragón, José Ignacio Maya Peña, Ricardo Amado”Gandhy” Rodríguez Asprilla, Jhon Jairo López Yépez.

Sitting in front:Carlos Alberto Maya Peña, César Augusto”Cucharita” Cueto Villa, Carlos Alberto”Ilustre” Ricaurte Daza, Gabriel Jaime “Barrabas” Gómez Jaramillo, Aparecido Donizette Oliveira “Sapuca”, Carlos Mario Vanegas, Javier “Pillo” Cardona, Hernán Darío”Bolillo” Gómez Jaramillo, Manuel Asisclo”Triciclo” Córdoba Aguilar.

Since Colombian players were not familiar names back then, only their coach deserves a note – the great Uruguayan star Luis Cubilla made rarely successful transition from player to coach – he practically ended his playing career with success and immediately won a title as a debutant coach. And continued to win – now he was in Colombia and led Atletico Nacional to first place in Torneo Nacional.

Now the bonus table was completed – Atletico Nacional got 1 bonus point, Amercia – 0.75, Millonarios – 0.50, and Atletico Junior – 0.25 points. That is, the top 4 teams according to the final table of Clausura/Torneo Nacional. Two teams got bonus points from both Apertura and Clausura – Millonarios and Atletico Junior, but it was hard to tell how strong they really were – true strength was to be displayed in the Octagonal Final and something in the vicinity of 1 extra point did not matter all that much. What mattered was to play really strong in the last 14 games of the year.

DIM – Deportivo Independiente Medellin – did not play very well the whole year and finished 8th with 7.50 points.

Deportivo Cali – 7th with 9 points.

Independiente Santa Fe – 6th with 12 points.

Once Caldas… should not be here, but it was. Who knows why.

Deportes Pereira was 7th in Torneo Nacional and they should have been playing in the Octagonal. Unless Once Caldas was allowed as champions of Apertura – any other explanation would be fishy. Anyhow, Once Caldas was entirely unimpressive – 5th with 14 points.

Millonarios was steady through the whole year, but no more than steady… 4th with 16.75 points. Standing from left: Moises Pachón, José Daniel Van Tuyne, Alcides Savedra, Nolberto Molina, Arnoldo Iguaran, Wilmer Cabrera.

Front row: Norberto Peluffo, Alejandro Esteban Barberón, José “Cheché” Hernández, Carlos Ángel López, Alonso “Pocillo” López.

The big name here was the Argentine Jose Daniel Van Tuyne, but he was hardly enough for success.

Atletico Nacional managed just 3rd place – not bad, but unable to keep up with their earlier success. Unlucky too – they lost 2nd place on worse goal-difference.

Atletico Junior (Baranquilla) ended 2nd with 19 points, but better goal-difference placed them above Atletico Nacional. By now, Europeans hardly remembered the Argentine stars of the first half of the 1970s, but aged Daniel Carnevalli and Carlos Babington were still good enough to keep their current club strong.

When it came to playing just when it mattered most, nobody knew it better than America (Cali). For the most of the year they kept themselves among the favourites, but did not do more. But when the Octagonal started they pushed up. And won. The final table does not show it well – America was 1st with 19.75 points, less than a point ahead of the competition. But remember that the top three teams all carried bonus points. America was not overwhelming champion, but if bonus points are voided, they were still first, for they won most points in the final tournament.

Since winning was already just routine for America, better take another look at the victorious squad and say no more.


Chile I Division

First Division. It started with 20 teams and after Campeonato Apertura was increased to 22. The league was to be further enlarged, so there was no relegation, but 4 teams were promoted from Second Division for the next year. One may wonder why relatively small country with limited resources should have one of the largest leagues in the world, but the really important issue is just technical: no relegation.

Campeonato Apertura may have been interesting, but only one thing mattered: getting a chance to qualify for the second Chilean spot in Libertadores Cup. Two teams qualified for the final stage – the champions and second placed in Apertura. As for the rest, it was just pride, for the championship did not bring official recognition – unlike Argentina, Chile had single champion. O’Higgins (Rancagua) finished 2nd in Campeonato Apertura, behind Universidad Catolica (Santiago) – both teams qualified for the final decisive tournament, deciding who will represent Chile in the 1984 Copa Libertadores. Universidad Catolica added this otherwise meaningless title to its historic record.

They did well in the Copa Republica too – the tournament was played during Campeonato Oficial, bringing bonus points to the teams reaching semi-finals and the final. Unlike Campeonato Apertura, Copa Republica had official recognition, thus making some sense. It was a tournament only for the first division clubs, but those teams promoted administratively after Apertura were also included. Santiago Wanderers and Iquique lost at the semi-finals, getting 1 bonus point each. The final was reached by Naval and Universidad Catolica. Naval lost 0-1 and got 1 bonus point.

So far, Universidad Catolica did very well – they won Campeonato Aperura, thus keeping a good chance to get the second Chilean Libertadores spot. They won Copa Republica, an official trophy, and added 2 bonus points to their record in Campeonato Oficial. On the surface, a splendid season and a team like that must have been a title contender to the end. Standing from left: Luis Valenzuela, Rubén Espinoza, Patricio Mardones, Oscar Lihn, Atilio Marchioni, Miguel Angel Leyes.

Crouching: Juan Ramón Isasi, Daniel Silva, Osvaldo Hurtado, Miguel Angel Neira, Jorge Aravena.

And now the truly important championship, deciding the title. Standard league championship – every team played twice against every other. No relegation. Two teams were administratively promoted after Campeonato Apertura, so the league was increased from 20 to 22 teams – the format for 1983 Campeonato Oficial. Bonus points were added to the records of those reaching the semi-finals of Copa Republica. Let’s start was the club excelling so far: Univesidad Catolica won both Apertura and Copa. Because of that, one should expect them to be possible title contender. But they were not and actually performed rather poorly in the only important competition: they finished 5th in Oficial with 48 points. And that only thanks to the 2 bonus points for winning Copa Republica – without them, they would have been 7th. With or without bonus points, Universidad Catolica played no role in the championship race – they were very distant 5th – 14 points behind the 2nd placed team. So, the earlier championships could be seen differently: lacking real importance, most likely many a club did not really compete, saving strength for the only important championship of the year – a familiar story in every country having two separate championships, but counting only one as title-giving.

Now let’s take a look at the newcomers – since the criteria was not performance, but stadium capacity and attendance, one may doubt the quality of teams elevated from second division by fiat. If they were really good, they would have been first division members already.

Green Cross (Temuco) finished 13th with 39 points, but with positive goal-difference (69-65) – the only team bellow 7th place with positive goal-difference. Not bad – especially in view of their weak performance in the Second Division Apertura.

Huachipato (Talcahuano) finished 11th with 41 points. Better than Green Cross, which makes sense, since they won Second Division Apertura. Mid-table positions for the former second division members looks like more than plausible performance. More convincing even,when one remembers that Green Cross is one of the historically strongest Chilean clubs and Huachipato was the country champion ten years earlier – these were not exactly unknown novices. But… there was no relegation, so many weaker clubs had to play for really. No reason to put an extra effort – it is difficult to say how good or bad the newcomers were, if others were disinterested and only went throw the motions. Some of the better know clubs finished suspiciously low.

Audax Italiano (Santiago) ended last with 28 points. Terrible. But how terrible? They may have lost interest early in the championship, may be thinking for the next year and not bothering with the current season – there was no relegation anyway and nothing to play for. But… clearly, the club was going down and if the sorry example of Santiago Morning is considered – ending relegated to Third Division – Audax Italiano most likley was in dire straits and in real trouble.

With 29 points, Santiago Wanderers finished 21st. As bad as Audax Italiano and bringing the same questions – were they really so weak or just gave up early and did not care? Santiago Wanderers played well earlier – they reached the semi-finals of Copa Republica, thus getting a bonus point. No clear answer… cup formats have their own logic, so different from regular championship.

Union Espanola (Santiago) – 20th with 33 points. One more club which did not belong to the bottom of the league. True, they had measly season, but not that long ago they were champions.

Atacama (Copiapo) – 19th with 35 points. Now, this was more likely – this was lowly club, if they played first division at all. Survival was only aim, they were normally at the bottom of the table, so nothing unusual this year too – the unusual was the teams bellow them.

Union San Felipe (San Felipe) – like Atacama, normal lowly performance. 18th with 35 points, ahead of Atacama on better goal-difference.

Antofagasta (Antofagasta) – more of the same: 17th with 37 points.

Iquique ( Iquique) – one more traditionally lowly club. 16th with 37 points. However, they played well earlier, reaching the Cup semi-finals and thus earning a bonus point – this point proved important, equalizing their final record with Antofagasta’s and having better goal-difference – placing them ahead of the usual rival.

O’Higgins (Rancagua) was more similar to Universidad Catolica than any other team – they played very well in the Apertura, finishing 2nd, behind Universidad Catolica. But they were mediocre in Campeonato Oficial – 15th with 38 points. Yet, they still had a chance to represent Chile in the 1984 Copa Libertadores. Were they really weak? Did they just get advantage of the disinterest of others in the meaningless early championship or they simply gave up in the important, but nor dangerous championship?

Trasandino (Los Andes), 14th with 39 points, was no mystery – lowly they were, lowly they stayed. From their own historic standpoint, the season was actually satisfying.

13th was the already mentioned Green Cross (Temuco).

Palestino (Santiago) – rather lowly 12th position with 40 points, but the club had traditionally checkered record, so nothing surprising.

Huachipato (Talcahuano) – 11th with 41 points.

Strange picture of Deportes Arica (Arica), but they had rather season – 10th with 41 points.

Fernandez Vial (Concepcion) – surprisingly strong: 9th with 42 points. As a novelty, they had perfectly rounded record: 14 wins, 14 ties, 14 losses.

Everton (Vina del Mar) was 8th with 44 points.

Rangers (Talca) – 7th with 47 points.

Naval (Talcahuano) – 6th with 48 points. Strong year – they played well in Copa Republica too, reaching the final and earning a bonus point.

Universidad Catolica (Santiago) – 5th with 48 points, winning really the battle of bonus points with Naval.

Magallanes (Santiago) ended 4th with 50 points. This position gave a chance to compete for the second Libertadores spot. The big figure here – the national team goalkeeper Adolfo Nef.

With 53 points, Universidad de Chile (Santiago) was 3rd. Nothing surprising, they were routine favourite, although this year not a title contender. Manuel Pellegrini standing at the far left – not as famous back then as he is today.

Cobreloa (Calama) – 2nd with 62 points. Fought for the title to the end and lost by a single point. There was no doubt about them any longer: Cobreloa firmly established itself as a leading Chilean club in just a few years. They were the highest scoring team this season with 96 goals, and the strikers were complimented by the most solid defense, allowing only 31 goals – the champions received 5 more!

As for the champions, hardly any need to even mention the name – Colo Colo (Santiago), who else? They were entangled in great battle with Cobreloa, but managed to finish on top with a single point difference. It was pure race – no bonus points played a role and very likely the opponents did not put great effort in the meaningless early tournaments, conserving strength for the real championship. Difficult victory for Colo Colo and may be more cherished because of that, but otherwise just another trophy added to already huge collection. Standing from left: Leonel Herrera, Luis Hormazabal, Alejandro Hisis, Oscar Rojas, Lizardo Garrido, Roberto Rojas;

First row: Cristian Saavedra, Raul Ormeño, Carlos Caszely, Severino Vasconcelos, Jaime Vera.

As usually, Carlos Caszely was the king of the team.

After the end of the championship a mini-tournament was played to decide the second Copa Libertadores spot. Universidad Catolica quilified from Apertura; Cobreloa, Universidad de Chile, and Magallanes – from Oficial. However… O’Higgins was earlier announced as qualifying to Libertadores, along with Universidad Catolica from Apertura. Now they were out for whatever reason. The four teams played against each other once and final table ended with Univeridad Catolica last and, surprisngly, Magallanes on top.

Magallanes obviously saved enough strength for one lats great effort and won Pre-Libertadores Liquilla. Fine…they were going to represent Chile along with Colo Colo in the 1984 South American cup. But because of the confusion of statistical notes, one really has to look who actually represented Chile in 1984 Libertadores and after that try to discover the reasons why.

The sure thing was only the champions, so one more look at Colo Colo, dressed in rare reserve kit.

Chile II Division

Chile. A championship so complicated, it deserves a note. There was Campeonato Apertura, followed by Campeonato Oficial, with Copa Chile overlapping Oficial. The official champion was the one of Campeonato Oficial. There were promotions to the higher league after Apertura, based not on results, but on administrative criteria – ‘good venues, meaning large enough stadiums and attendance. Rules differed for different divisions as well as the championship formats. The Apertura in First Division only gave a chance for the winner to compete for the second Libertadores spot after the end of Oficial. The Cup – Chile was and is the only South American country having national cup tournament, although for a short time and involving only the top league clubs – gave bonus points for the winner (2 points) and the losers at the final and the semi-finals (1 point) to be carried to Oficial. The parallel cup for the Second Division involved only 10 clubs, had no final and the only purpose for it was the bring extra revenue for the participants. The Apertura gave bonus points to the top 4 clubs to be carried to Oficial – 2 points for the winner and 1 point for losing finalist and semi-finalists. However, 2 clubs were promoted after Apertura to First Division – cities, judged to be ‘good venues’. Talcahuano and Temuco were the cities, so Huachipato and Green Cross moved up. Huachipato won the Apertura, but could not carry its 2 bonus points to the higher division. On the other hand Green Cross did not go even to the second phase of the championship, but went up anyway. Thus, the top league was enlarged to 22 teams in the middle of the year. Second Division started with 18 teams, but finished with 24. Five Third Division clubs were promoted administratively for Oficial – performance did not matter: Third Division was divided into three groups and no team from Central Group went up. One team from the Northern Group and 4 teams from Southern Group were considered having big enough stadiums and attendance to join the higher division. So far, so good, but some mystery remains – with 2 teams exiting and 5 joining, Second Division had 21 teams at the beginning of Oficial – where three more, to make the final number of 24, came from? So strange and complicated,

Quintero Unido (Quintero) boasts they were Third Division champions in 1983. They were one of the promoted to Second Division teams in mid-year. At this point, they only won a stage of Third Division championship – they finished 1st in the Northern Group. One may understand the club… this was the only time they ended first, but champions? The Third Division championship continued without them and the other 4 promoted teams and ended with official champion: Super Lo Miranda (Lo Miranda). They and second placed Ivan Mayo (Villa Alemana) were promoted to Second Division for the 1983 season.

At the time Quintero Unido finished first in the Northern Group of Third Division, the Apertura of Second Division ended. Huachipato (Talcahuana) won it, finishing on top of the final group. What they got was 2 bonus points, but since they were promoted to play in the top league for the rest of the year, the points meant nothing – they were valid only for the Second Division Oficial championship. Those behind Huachipato – San Luis, Cobresal, and Coquimbo Unido – carried their bonus point to Oficial.

Oficial was all that mattered. The formula was strange – the league was divided into 2 12-team groups in which every team played twice against all others. A second round followed – again in 2 groups, but made differently – the top 6 of the initial groups got the bottom 6 of the other group. This time the teams met only once against each other and after this stage was finished a final aggregate table was made. Every team played 33 games, but there were teams never playing against each other, for they never appeared in the same group. The final table not only decided the league champion, but also decided promotion and relegation. Two teams were directly relegated and the four immediately above them went to play-offs deciding two more relegated. The bottom of the final table was quite strange – Santiago Morning (Santiago) was last with 19 points. This was the most famous club going to Third Division. Colchagua (San Fernando) was 23rd with 23 points – they also used to play top league football. Nuble Unido (Chillan) was 22nd – the name sound unfamiliar, but they changed to it in the middle of the year: originally, this was Nublense, a club playing for years in the top division. Curico Unido (Curico) was 21st with 25 points – the only mid-season newcomer facing relegation. Ovalle (Ovalle), one more former first division member was 20th with 27 points, and San Antonio Unido (San Antonio) was 19th with 28 points. At the relegation play-offs Curico Unido and Ovalle prevailed rather easily and remained in the Second Division. Relegated were: Santiago Morning, Colchagua, Nuble Unido, and San Antonio Unido.

Osorno (Osorno) was very lucky – they ended 18th with 28 points. Safe. But it was only better goal-difference placing them there.

Up the table the newcomers must be mentioned: those, lifted up from Third Division performed surprisingly well. Curuco Unido was the worst, but even they managed to escape relegation back to Third Division. The other four were quite solid: General Velasquez (San Vicente de Tagua Tagua) was 16th, Union Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz) – 14th, Quintero Unido – 13th, and Victoria (Victoria) – 8th.

From the better known members of Second Divison – known, because of years playing top league football,

Concepcion (Concepcion) ended 10th with 36 points,

Union Calera (La Calera) – 9th with 36 points, and

Lota Schwager (Coronel) – 7th with 37 points. Lota Schwager missed a chance for promotion almost unfairly at a glance: Coquimbo Unido was above them thanks to the bonus point carried from otherwise meaningless Campeonato Apertura. If not for this extra point… Well, without this point it would have been the same, Lota Schwager still 7th, on worse goal-difference.

Those, placed from 3rd to 6th place went to promotion play-offs. Coquimbo Unido (Coquimbo) was 6th with 38 points, La Serena (La Serena) – 5th with 40 points, Malleco Unido (Angol) – 4th with 40 points, and Laja (Laja) – 3rd with 42 points.

Deportes Laja desreves a note of praise: practically unknown small club, they had fantastic season, including winning their group in the Cup tournament. It would have been wonderful, if they ended with promotion, they were so close. But they lost.

The other small club, Malleco Unido, also lost – after winning the pay-offs former first division members went up: La Serena and

Coquimbo Unido.

And at the top of Second Division and directly promoted were San Luis (Quillota), 2nd with 44 points, and Cobresal (El Salvador). Both teams played consistently strong season – did well in the Apertura and better in the Oficial. As a result, their bonus points were practically unneeded. But San Luis was only solid, consistent, and squirreling points – Cobresal excelled.

Cobresal was superior – they finished 12 points ahead of San Luis, losing only one match in the campaign. They were 3rd in the meaningless Apertura, did not play in the meaningless cup torunament, and ended first in the both stages of Oficial. At the end they had 23 wins, 9 ties, lost just one match, added a bonus point from Aperura, outscored everybody with 67 goals (the second best was Coquimbo Unido with 58) and had astonishing defense, allowing only 18 goals (the next best defensive record belonged to Malleco Unido – 30 goals). Cobresal were far above anybody in the league and speculations what could have been if two teams were not promoted in the mid-year are futile: Huachipato won the Apertura, but the championship hardly counted for anything and Cobresal did well in it too. Meantime Green Cross was less than impressive and unable to move beyond the opening stage – it was unlikely they would have been very strong later in the year. Cobresal was start from the start and getting stronger as the season progressed. Perhaps what was really strange is that they were not administratively promoted after Apertura, but even this was just fine – not promoted, they were able to earn a trophy: true, champions of only Second Division, but champions.

Because everything was muddy, let repeat the promoted teams: Cobresal (El Salvador), San Luis (Quillota), La Serena (La Serena), and Coquimbo Unido (Coquimbo).



Some clubs were out of sight – like Racing – and that concerning only Montevideo clubs, for there were no other in the first, second, and third division. Colon, Fenix, and Liverpool got a chance to run for promotion, but only the winner of Second Division was directly promoted:

Central Espanol finished 1st and returned to the top league.

River Plate – 13th and last in First Division was relegated. They finished with 16 points.

Rampla Juniors ended 12th with 19 points. They were safe – combined record of previous championships decided the team going to relegation/promotion play-off.

Huracan Buceo – 11th with 20 points – went to relegation/promotion play off. Standing from left: Enrique Peña , Roberto Santos , Raúl Mirabal , Andrés Ortuño , Miguel Leone, Luis Cáceres.

Front row: Juan Contreras, Victor Mastropiero, Julio Daniel Morales, Daniel Tores, Luis Paiva.

They played round-robin tournament against Liverpool, Fenix, and Colon from Second Division, won 5 and lost 1 game, finished first and preserved their place in the top league.

Miramar Misiones – 10th with 20 points.

Sud America – 9th with 20 points.

Cerro – 8th with 22 points.

Surprise, surprise… Penarol 7th with 22 points. Hard to believe, but that was the upsetting fact. Most likely the team was just too tired and unfocussed from playing too much international football, but for Penarol that could not be valid excuse.

Progreso was 6th with 24 points.

Wanderers – 5th with 25 points.

Bella Vista – 4th with 28 points.

Defensor won the bronze with 29 points. Standing from left: Ferron, “El Piti” Sarubbi, Hector Roux, “El Pete” Russo, Maeso, Eduardo Acevedo, Pablo Forlan.

Crouching: Daniel Oddine, Miguel Caillava, “El Polilla” Jorge Orosman Da Silva, Rafael Villazan, Abel Tolosa, Ganeglius. The big figure here was Pablo Forlan, old and at the very end of his long and illustrious career, but still good enough to hel a team to high position. Defensor, however, depended on ties – they tied 15 of their 24 championship games.

Wonderful season for Danubio – they may have been a bit lucky, for they finished above Defensor only because had better goal-difference by a single goal, but they got silver. Then they won the mini-tournament for the second Uruguayan spot in Copa Libertadores. Danubio was really getting recognized and establishing itself among the leading clubs of the country.

This year’s champions had no rivals whatsoever – 16 wins, 6 ties, 2 losses, 46-13, 38 points. The second in the table had 9 points less. Standing rom left: Rodolfo Rodriguez, Ferrari, Berrueta, W. Gonzalez, “Chico” Moreira, Aguirregaray.

First row: Alzamendi, Luzardo, Wilmar Cabrera, Miguel Angel Brindisi, Aguilera.

Good squad, no doubt, but did not look stronger than Penarol’s – on paper. It had a foreign star – the Argentine midfielder Miguel Brindisi. By now, his name was fading and he was getting old, but still the champion. As for the club’s name – there is no need to mention it… who else but Nacional. One more title, so routine. The only ‘new’ thing about them is perhaps the photo itself – using the less familiar second kit with red shirts. So strong Nacional was this year – or may be the opposition too weak – that they hardly ever used all their star players in the starting eleven, so some of them are missing here: Cid, Perdomo, Sosa, to name a few.