African Cup Winners’ Cup

Cup Winners’ Cup. 34 teams were going to play in the issue – not all African countries entered the competition (South Africa was still banned, Ethiopia) and not all teams actually played, as usual. UDIB (Guinea Bissau), Al-Ahly (Libya), and Nakiyubo Villa SC (Uganda) withdrew without playing a game in the first round. The next one was USK Algiers (Algeria) which decided to quit after losing the home leg to BFV FC (Madagascar) 1-3 in the ¼ finals. The surprise winners reached the ½ finals – a great success for a team from Madagascar, but miracles do not happen every day: Bendel United (Nigeria) quickly eliminated them 1-4 and 0-0. In the other semifinal surprise happened, though: Gor Mahia (Kenya) lost to Al-Merreikh (Sudan) 1-0 and 0-2. Thus, the finalists were clubs never reaching such a stage before: Bendel United vs Al-Merreikh.
Al-Merreikh hosted the first leg and won 1-0. Fragile lead, which actually benefited the Nigerians and they were expected to win the trophy, but the Sudanese fought as much as they could and extracted scoreless draw: 0-0. The Cup was theirs to enjoy.
Bendel United – not to be confused with better known Bendel Insurance – were… new club. They qualified to the tournament as Flash Flamingos, which was the Nigerian Cup losing finalist in 1988. Then they were bought by the Bendel State Governor Tunde Ogbena and renamed Bendel United. Under the new name they entered the Cup Winners’ Cup and were about to make their own miracle, reaching the final and considered the stronger team there. But they lost, only to prove the deeply embedded fragility and whimsicality of African football – personal ambition was hardly the best driving force, too much dependent on political winds and changing interests.
Although an old club, as the date on their (old) logo tells, Al-Merreikh (Omdurman) was obscure club, as it was Sudanese football in general. Today they play under slightly changed name and different logo, but certainly their greatest year was 1989 – and not just for the club and its fans, but for the whole Sudanese football: they were only the second Sudanese club to reach African Cup final, but the first to win it (Al-Hilal reached the Champions Cup final in 1987, but lost to Egyptian Al-Ahly).
Such fantastic success, which was never repeated, expects some historic pictorial material, yet… there is practically none. No faces, no names… The team bringing the greatest success in the history of Sudanese football remains mysteriously unknown. What is known, though, is the name of their coach: the German Ernst Roeder.


Canada. Trying to run professional league was very difficult task – one new team was included: Victoria Vistas (British Columbia), but meantime the Calgary’s club expired. A new one was formed on its ashes – Calgary Strikers – only to disappear after the end of the season. In any case 10 teams participated this season, divided into 2 ‘divisions’ – West and East – both of 5 teams. Distances complicated the championship formula, like in every North American sport: every team played 4 times against the teams in its division, but only twice – once at home and once away – against the teams in the other division. Many players played formerly in NASL and various North American leagues, both outdoors and indoors, but they mostly Canadian and American footballers. Foreigners were relatively few and, in sharp contrast to former NASL, not famous players.
Justin Fashanu (Edmonton Brickmen) was the only internationally recognized name in the league.
After playing a total of ‘regular season’ games, the top 2 teams from each division went directly to the ½ finals and the next 2 teams in each division played 1/4 finals of 2 legs. Then ½ final and the winners played the championship final. Just a taste of the Canadian teams:
North York Rockets (Ontario) – 3rd in the East Division with 33 points and eliminated in the ¼ finals by Hamilton Steelers 1-1 and 0-1.

Ottawa Intrepid (Ontario) – 4th in East Division with 22 points.
Eventually, Vancouver 86ers (British Columbia) and Hamilton Steelers (Ontario) reached the final. Vancouver was so far formidable – they had the best record in the ‘regular’ phase of the season, finishing with most points in the whole league – 42 – and losing only 2 games. They also scored most goals – 65. In the ½ finals Vancouver eliminated Edmonton Brickmen (Alberta), which was 2nd with 21 points in the West Division, 5-3 and 4-0. Hamilton Steelers finished 2nd in the East Division with 37 points and eliminated North York Rockets in the ¼ finals. In the ½ finals they prevailed over their divisional champions Toronto Blizzard (Ontario) 1-1 and 2-1.
In the final Vancouver 86ers prevailed over Hamilton Steelers 3-2 and kept the title at the West coast.
Good season for Hamilton Steelers, but at the end they lost to classier opponent.
Safe to say Vancouver 86ers were the strongest and best run club in the country. They had excellent season, dominating from start to finish and achieving an all-time record in Canadian sports: 46 consecutive games without losing – no other professional club in any sport had such long unbeaten run.


Honduras. Football has long, but obscure history in this Central-American country. Obscure to the world at large, that is. The first professional championship was played in 1965-66 and since than followed the ‘European’ format of a season spread in two years – fall and spring. As for the formula itself, it was a copy of the Mexican football: the small top league was divided into 2 groups of 5 teams, but they played against all other teams 3 times. The unfortunate with the least points was relegated to Second Division. The top 2 teams qualified to the next stage plus the 3rd-placed team with more points, to make final group of 5. The top 2 teams in this group moved to play the championship final in 2 legs. One team promoted from Second Division.
Super Estrella (Danli el Paraiso) won the Second Division championship and was promoted to the top division. Standing from left: Moises Flores, Hector Posantes, Misael Pinto (Uruguayan), “Tanque” Ramirez (Costarrican), Carlos Cruz Padilla, Edwin Geovany “Venado” Castro. First row: Jorge Arturo “Pando” Arriola, Victor Garay, Jorge “Tin” Martinez, Juan Cruz Murillo, Rogelio Zapata.
As often is the case in many countries, most clubs were based in the capital city – so, 4 teams in the top division were from Tegucigalpa, 2 from La Ceiba, 2 from San Pedro Sula, and Puerto Cortes and La Lima had one team each. The ‘big’ names reached the second stage.
Group A.
Platense (Puerto Cortes) was last with 22 points.
Curacao (Tegucigalpa), newly promoted this season, was 4th with 23 points.
Victoria (La Ceiba) – 3rd with 26 points. The season ended for them at this stage, for they finished with 1 point less than the third in Group B. However… rules stated that the winner of this stage – the team with most points, which would have been champion in a normal league table, qualified ‘automatically’ and because of that the next 2 teams in its group qualified ‘regularly’.
Marathon – 2nd with 28 points, and Olimpia – 1st with 32 points, qualified to the next stage.
Group B.
Universidad (Tegucigalpa) ended last with 21 points and since they were the team with least points in this stage, they were relegated.
Sula (La Lima) was 4th with 23 points. Second row from left: Juan Rigoberto Castillo, Edwin Fernando Yanes, José Erasmo “Urco” Castillo, Jose Luis “Pili” Aguirre, Santiago “Tigre” Carbajal, Jorge Ramas (Uruguayan). Crouching: Geovany “Yura” Rochez, Fernando Nuila, Reyes Meraz, Emilio “Chespirito” Hernandez, Danilo “Pilo” Enriquez.
Vida – 3rd with 27 points and Motagua – 2nd with 32 points, qualified by ‘regular’ rules. Real Espana topped the group with 36 points and since they had the most points at his stage, they qualified ‘automatically’ to the final as First-stage winners. What was the point of their playing in the next round is hard to fathom, though.
Strange, but there was something approximate to final standings in the opening stage: a playoff for the 2nd place. Olimpia and Motagua contested it and Olimpia won 2-0. True, both teams finished with not only equal points, but equal goal-difference (+8) too, but since there was no final table… and the championship was far from finished, what was the point?
Final group. The winner going to the final of the championship. But if Real Espana won this stage, there was not to be any final…
Marathon (San Pedro Sula) finished last with 4 points. Vida (La Ceiba) – 4th with 6 points. Motagua (Tegucigalpa) – 3rd with 8 points. Real Espana ended 2nd with 10 points, and Olimpia topped the final group with 12 points. Well, there was to be championship final after all.
Which proved to be dramatic and indecisive… Olimpia won the first leg at home 2-0, but in the second leg Real Espana won with the same result and no more goals were scored in extra-time. So, what now? Penalty shoot-out? A third match? Neither – the team with better regular season record was declared champion. Which was Real Espana.
Olimpia (Tegucigalpa) lost the title not on the field, but by the book. Coached by Uruguayan coach Estanislao Malonowski.
Real Espana (San Pedro Sula) clinched the title thanks to the rules. Yes, they had stronger overall season than Olimpia, but… did not prevail in the Final group and did not win the championship final. Lucky title, to a point. It was their 5th. Top row from left: Wilmer “Superman” Cruz, Karl Roland, Allan Antoni “Cochero” Costly, Daniel Uberti, Juan Manuel “Nito” Anariba, Ruben Alonso (Uruguayan).
Front: Carlos Orlando Caballero, Giovanni Gayle ” Bombillo” Alarcon, Juan “Montuca” Castro, Marco Antonio “Maco Anariba”, Carlos Humberto “Macho” Ruiz.
Even with brief and scarce information, one notices many foreign players – and coaches, as well – along with British-sounding names. Honduran football may have been weak, but it was professional, so foreigners played in the country for years. Many foreigners, although, understandably, obscure players. As for British names, such players were not foreign – Honduras has an English-speaking enclave. From it came Karl Roland, Allan Costly (Real Espana), Rudy Williams (Olimpia), and many others – almost entirely black players, which suggests the roots of the English-speaking Hondurans: slavery. In the realm of CONCACAF, Hondural had strong football and teams.

Mexico I Division

First Division. 20 teams as usual, divided in 4 groups in the first stage. The top 2 in every group went to the next stage, but the team with least points in ‘combined’ table was relegated. Second phase was also played in groups and the both group winners went to the final. The old problem remained: since in the first phase every team played twice against all others, everything depended on luck: a team could be in ‘strong’ group and fail to qualify to the next stage even when having more points than teams in weaker groups. But the formula was established long time ago and Mexicans were well used to it.
First phase:
Group 1.
Monterrey (Monterrey) – last with 29 points.
Irapuato(Irapuato) – 4th with 32 points. Standing from left: Jorge Tapia, José Luis Miranda, Alvaro Rodríguez, Gino Valentini (Chilean), Alejandro Sabella (Argentine), José Ledesma. First row: Juan Morales, Francisco Macedo, Horacio Rocha, Teodoro Orozco, César Sosa (Paraguayan).
Toluca (Toluca) – 3rd with 32 points. Second row from left: Juan ‘Venado’ Gutiérrez, Sergio Lagunas, Washington Olivera, Octavio ‘Picas’ Becerril, José A. Alcántara, Ricardo Ferretti. Crouching: Pedro Munguía, Álvaro Torres, Mauricio Gomez, Jesús Mendizabal, Roberto Masciarelli.
Cruz Azul – 2nd with 43 points and qualified to the next phase.
America – 1st with 43 points and qualified to the next phase.
Group 2.
Santos Laguna (Torreon) – 5th with 29 points.
UANL (Monterrey) – 4th with 33 points. Second row from left: Pantoja, Aarón Gamal, Francisco Calderón, Juan C. Paz (Uruguayan), Ignacio Rodríguez. Front: Daniel Corral, Jorge D. Cabrera (Uruguayan), Rodríguez, Martín Ponce, Gutiérrez, Félix Torres (Paraguayan).
Universidad de Guadalajara (Guadalajara) – 3rd with 41 points.
Atlante – 2nd with 49 points and qualified to the next phase.
Puebla – 1st with 53 points and qualified to the next stage.
Group 3.
Atletico Potosino (San Luis Potosi) – last with 22 points. But they were also the team with least points in the whole division, so were relegated.
Morelia (Morelia) – 4th with 41 point.
Necaxa (Mexico City) – 3rd with 45 points. Here is a team which did not go ahead because they were in strong group… were they in Group 1, they would have been group winners.
CD Guadalajara – 2nd with 47 points and qualified to the next stage.
Tampico Madero -1st with 47 points and going to the next stage.
Group 4.

Atlas (Guadalajara) – last with 26 points.
UAT Correcaminos (Ciudad Victoria) – 4th with 34 points.
Cobras (Ciudad Juarez) – 3rd with 35 points. Not bad for newcomers.
UAG (Guadalajara) – also listed under their popular name Tecos, following the usual confusion with Mexican tables: some teams listed under their official names, others under popular nicknames. 2nd with 38 points and going to the next phase. UAG benefited from the rules: 3 teams in the other groups earned more points than them and did not qualify to the next stage, but UAG had weak clubs in their group and went ahead.
UNAM – 1st with 41 points and qualified to the next phase.
Semifinal playoffs:
Group 1. Groups winners going to the final.
UAG (Guadalajara) – last with 3 points.
Puebla (Puebla) – 3rd with 5 points.
CD Guadalajara (Guadalajara) – 2nd with 8 points. ‘Chivas’ were unlucky – goal-difference finished the season for them: +5.
America clinched top position with 8 points and +6 goal-difference – and went to the championship final.
Group 2.
Atlante (Mexico City) – 4th with 3 points. The only team in this stage without winning even one match.
UNAM (Mexico City) – 3rd with 6 points.
Tampico Madero (Tampico Madero) – 2nd with 7 points.
Cruz Azul won the group with 8 points and moved to the final.
The final was played in two legs and was tough enough – America prevailed 3-2 in the first leg and the second ended 2-2. Carlos Hermosillo scored 2 goals – one in each leg – for America and the star must be mentioned, for during the 1990s he was the leading forward for Cruz Azul. For the moment, though, he was ‘robbing’ his future club from a title.
Cruz Azul (Mexico City) finished with silver medals, losing the battle for the title by one goal. Unfortunate.
America (Mexico City) prevailed in the final and triumphed with the title. Which was their 9th. Hermosillo was perhaps the greatest star of this team, but America were traditionally strong club with plenty of money to build and keep solid squads.

Mexico II Division

Mexico. The usual Mexican ‘mess’ with names and franchises… Potros Neza (Nezahualcoyotl) was ‘found’ in 1988 on the ashes of Correcaminos UAT (Ciudad Victoria), according to ‘history’. That is, the new club bought the franchise of Correcaminos UAT. Well, well… the ‘old’ club played in the First Division, but Potros Neza played in the Second Division in its first season. But the ‘extinguished’ Correcaminos UAT still played in the First Division and continued to do so… Meantime Angeles de Puebla disappeared, the franchise bought by another ‘new’ club – Santos Laguna (Torreon), which replaced Angeles de Puebla in First Division. Well… Angeles de Puebla expired allright, but Santos Laguna was not a newly founded club at all – it was well known name for years. Such transformations confuse, along with the problem with proper names – depending on the source, a proper club name or popular nickname nickname is given, but sources tend to mix names – could be one club is given by official name and another by popular nickname in one source and reversed in another. Confusing names, bought and sold franchises, sometimes renaming existing clubs, sometimes just moving at least the name from one city to another… a mess. The championship itself followed well established and understandable formula – a strange formula, but understandable. Every team played against all others twice in the first stage, just in regular league. But there was no league table, except for relegation matter – the league was divided into 4 groups and the top two qualified to the next stage. Old objection to this format is its chancy nature – strong teams could appear together in one group and at least one of them would not go the next stage, when a team with less points, but in weaker group could qualify. But rules are rules.
Second Division. The champion was promoted to the top league and 2 teams were relegated to Third Division. 20 teams participated, but the changes in Second Division were even harder to follow then in the top league, largely because smallish practically unknown clubs played there, some of them with short existence. Thus, the relegated teams this season were Tapatio and Pioneros (Cancun). Pioneros pop up from time to time, although not always under this name and therefore it is difficult to establish continuity of a club representing the city of Cancun. What is really important here is only the league champion, because of promotion.
Looking at the league, Leon was the only familiar name – but this club had hard times for sure: not only reduced to play in the Second Division, but performing badly as well: they did not reach the second stage of the championship, although in a normal league table they should have been 5th. Unfortunately, Leon played in strong group and ended 3rd in it, thus, unable to reach the next stage unlike teams well bellow them on points.
If normal table was the factor, La Piedad would have been champion, or at least qualifying to a final play-off, for they and UA Queretaro finished with 61 points and La Piedad had only better goal-difference. But the championship formula did not allow that – instead, newly formed Potros Neza and Atletico Yucatan reached the championship final: that is, 3rd (Potros Neza) vs 9th (Atletico Yucatan), if normal table existed. The final battle took 3 matches, seemingly played on neutral grounds – in Menda, Mexico City, and Guadalajara. Potros Neza won the first leg of the final (appearing as visitors) 1-0, but Yucatan won the second leg with the same result, also listed as visitors. The third match was all Potros Neza – they won 3-0.
Yucatan lost and remained in Second Divison – the fun with names is present here: in the statistical tables they are Atletico Yucatan. But also Venados Yucatan. Their jerseys name them just Yucatan. Did not earn much points in the first stage, but played very well in the second stage and reached the final. Gave up in the third final match, probably losing steam at the end.
Potros Neza (Nezahualcoyotl) made very impressive start: Second Division champions in their first season of existence and instantly promoted to the top league. Impressive beginning, indeed, but… possible only in Mexico. Anywhere else newly founded club would be in the lowest league at first. And how ‘new’ was the club is debatable as well as the the ‘foundations’ of the franchise – so, let leave complications aside.
Potros Nexa won the championship, was promoted and good luck to them in the top league. Good luck with mere existence too, for they were Mexican franchise-club.

CONCACAF Champions Cup

Copa de Campeones y Subcampeones CONCACAF. As usual, this tournament depended largely on the will of the Mexican participants. Money and transportation were familiar problems – the teams from Surinam withdrew for financial reasons and group tournaments were organized in one city in order of battling exactly the mentioned problems. Few draws were played in the familiar 2-leg format. Canada did not participate at all. USA was represented by amateur clubs having no chance to distinguish themselves for USA and Mexico were grouped together (as usual). One can say the US teams did quite well… Saint Louis Busch won at home 1-0 against CD Guadalajara (Mexico) and Greek Americans tied UNAM 2-2 in their home match. That was the maximum – in the away legs the Mexicans simply destroyed the Northerners: CD Guadalajara won 8-0 and UNAM 5-1. On the other hand, Cuba made a rather rare appearance in the tournament and Havana hosted the group tournament for the Caribbean section, taking full advantage of home turf. Cuba participated with only one team, but Pinar del Rio had teams from the Dutch Antilles and Trinidad & Tobago against them… class was hardly the factor; hosting was, and Pinar del Rio won the group. There was one more round to play to reach the final – in it, Pinar del Rio met Riviere-Pilote (Martinique). Financial reasons played in favour of the Cubans again – they hosted both legs and managed to prevail 1-1 and 2-1. Meantime UNAM reached the final from the parallel side of the competition – the continental football was stronger than Caribbean and it is hard to justify arrangement which clearly benefited extremely weak teams, but apart from financial problems, very likely that was the only way for CONCACAF to keep small, but numerous members interested. Thus, the final was between Pinar del Rio (Cuba) and UNAM (Mexico). Even Fidel Castro could not hope for Cuban victory – in Havana Pinar del Rio managed to extract a tie, 1-1. In Mexico City UNAM made sure who is the boss, scoring in the 8th minute. The second goal came from the flamboyant goalkeeper Jorge Campos – very likely playing as striker, as occasionally he did. At the end it was 3-1 UNAM.
Pinar del Rio is pure exotica even today – Cuban football is still little known. Cubans prefer baseball and basketball, so football is minor sport, one of the reasons Cuba rarely participated in the CONCACAF tournaments. Reaching the final was great, but one must take the circumstances into perspective: Pinar del Rio played against weak opponents only at home. 6 games to reach the final, all in Havana. At the end, they played only once in another city and that was enough: facing much stronger opponent without home advantage immediately put them in their rightful place, no miracle possible.
UNAM (Mexico City) won as expected. Jorge Campos among the goalscorers suggests that they were sure of their victory, perhaps even too sure and taking the final leisurely, but the difference of class was enormously in their favour: about 16 players of UNAM, including their reserve goalkeeper, played for the national team of Mexico. There was at least one player who was well known around the world – Manuel Negrete. Jorge Campos, Miguel Espana, and Alberto Garcia Aspe were rapidly becoming international stars. The team was bursting with talent, was quite young, and, unlike most strong Mexican teams, had only Mexican players. They also had young homegrown coach – their former star Miguel Mejia Baron, who took the team in 1988. In fact, the only team able to really challenge UNAM was fellow Mexicans of UAG (Guadalajara), but the structure of the tournament made Mexican final impossible. Unlike the Cubans, UNAM had tougher road to the final and they had to play against stronger teams. Their campaign was faultless: 2-2 and 5-1 with Greek Americans (USA), 4-0 and 6-0 with Plaza Amador (Panama), 1-1 and 5-0 vs Olimpia (Honduras), 1-1 and 5-1 vs Herediano (Costa Rica), 1-1 and 3-1 against Pinar del Rio (Cuba). Not even one match lost and scoring plenty of goals. Thus, UNAM won their 3rd CONCACAF Cup – a much deserved success, making them one of the most successful clubs in this competition.

Copa Interamericana

Copa Interamericana. It was played in March 1989 between the winners of 1988 South American and CONCACAF club champions. Olimpia (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) vs Nacional (Montevideo, Uruguay). Little doubt about the winner.
Olimpia (in white) did whatever they could do at home – 1-1.
In Montevideo Nacional finished everything in the first half, scoring 4 goals in 40 minutes. Here Daniel Fonseca scores the 2nd goal for Nacional in the 17th minute. Olimpia’s goalkeeper Belarmino Rivera can only close his eyes.

Hugo de Leon received the Cup.
Nacional posed for the picture and
made the obligatory round to the delight of their fans.
Olimpia (Tegucigalpa) left little evidence of itself. They were no match of Nacional. Their Uruguayan coach Estanislao Malinowski could not outwit his compatriots.
Nacional won its 2nd Copa Interamericana – the first time was in 1972. Back then they prevailed over stronger foe, the Mexican Cruz Azul. Early in the 1980s Nacional had a second try, but lost to another Mexican team. Olimpia was weaker opponent in any case and practically it took only 40 minutes for Nacional to win the trophy 17 years after their first victory.

South American Player Of The Year

South American Player Of The Year. The flamboyant goalkeeper of Atletico Nacional (Medellin) and Colombia Rene Huguita was voted 3rd with 34 points. Vasco da Gama midfielder Mazinho was 2nd with 42 points. And his teammate Bebeto was voted best South American player in 1989. He got 74 points.
Already 25 years old, the striker was well known name, but somewhat in danger of becoming one more unfulfilled hopeful.
He just moved from Flamengo to Vasco da Gama and looked like the change of jersey was just right and he played excellent first season with black and white. He also became key regular of the Brazilian national team, paired with Romario, who he replaced in Vasco da Gama. No doubt, winning Copa America with Brazil was the major factor for his recognition, but he deserved. Of course, one has to keep in mind that European-based South Americans did not get votes, so many stars, including Maradona and Romario were out of the race. But at last Bebeto was truly recognized as major international star.


Venezuela. 16-team top league, the bottom 2 teams relegated, the top 2 teams from Second Division promoted. Straight league championship. Two teams fought for the title.
Trujilanos won Second Division and was promoted.
Maracaibo was 2nd and also promoted.
First Division.
Peninsulares – last with 9 points and relegated.

Arroceros (Calabazo) – 15th with 9 points and relegated. The last two teams were absolute outsiders, so no other team was in any danger of relegation.
Atletico Anzoategui – 14th with 22 points. If they disappeared in the next season’s table, it was not because they were somehow relegated, but because they combined with Internacional (Puerto la Cruz) and played under the name Internacional.
Up the table:
Deportivo Italia – 10th with 29 points. The reason the photo has Peruvian inscription is that 2 Peruvians played for Deprotivo Italia – Jaime Drago and Jaime Duarte. Well, they were Jaime in Peru, but in Venezuala the name was Aime. Go figure… However, there were plenty of foreign players in Venezuela as it always has been.
Portuguesa – 9th with 30 points.
Deportivo Tachira – 5th with 35 points.
Maritimo ended 3rd with 41 points. Well above the next team, Zamora, leading by 5 points, but also 4 points behind the silver medalist.
Intriguing battle for the title between 2 teams, which never won anything before. And one of them of practically newcomer to the top league. At the end 1 point was the difference between winner and loser.
Pepeganga Margarita lost the battle, finishing with 45 points, but the boys were extremely happy – they climbed to the top division only a year or two ago and suddenly got silver medals. The greatest success in the history of the club even if they were unable to win the title.

Mineros Guayana clinched the title with 46 points. 18 wins, 10 ties, only 2 lost games, and 68-26 goal-difference. Unlike their rivals, Mineros was traditional top league club, but never won a championship. This season they were flying – even with Pepeganga breathing in the their neck, Mineros had wonderfully strong season. Only twice beaten and scoring plenty of goals – the most goals this season, in fact.
Historic success – first title! – certainly Mineros deserve one more photo.


Bolivia. A headache of a championship… complicated and entirely unclear formula in 2 phases. 12 teams played (at least part of the season) in the top league, but it was increased to 13 teams for the next year, so 1 team was relegated (on what grounds – unclear) and 2 teams were promoted from second tier. The promoted were Independiente Petrolero (Sucre) and San Pedro (Cochabamba). Good luck to them.
First Division. The first stage was standard league format. What was the relation to the rest of the season is hard to grasp – looks like the winner went to the championship final. However, not all teams played in the first stage – San Jose (Oruro) and Jorge Wilstermann (Cochabamba) did not participate for unknown reason, so it was 10-team league at first.
The Strongest (La Paz) won the first stage, beating Blooming (Santa Cruz) by a point: 10 wins, 4 ties, 4 losses, 45-15, 24 points. Seemingly, this victory qualified them to the championship final.
The Second stage itself was divided into 3 phases. All 12 teams played in it, divided into 2 groups of 6 teams and relegation occurred here, in the first phase. Again,what was the criteria for relegation one can only speculate. The top 4 teams in each group qualified to the next phase.
Universitario (Sucre) finished last in Group A with 9 points and was relegated. Unless there was some relegation stage or there was combined records of first stage and this phase for the lowest teams, one cannot find why Universitario went down.
San Jose (Oruro) finished 5th with 11 points. Since they did not play in first stage at all, San Jose distinguished themselves with having the shortest season among all top league teams: it had only 12 games.
Above them all teams moved to the next phase: Litoral (La Paz) – 4th, Bolivar (La Paz) – 3rd, Oriente Petrolero (Santa Cruz) – 2nd, and Real (Santa Cruz) – 1st.
Group B. The season of Always Ready (La Paz) ended at this phase – they were last with 6 points.
Ciclon (Tarija) also finished here – 5th with 6 points.
Destroyers (Santa Cruz) – 4th, J. Wilstermann – 3rd, Blooming – 2nd, and The Strongest – 1st, went ahead.
Second phase. Once again a group tournament – 2 groups of 4 teams each. The top 2 teams in each group moved to the Second stage semifinals, those bellow – to vacation.
Group A.

Real (Santa Cruz) – last with 4 points.
Destroyers (Santa Cruz) – 3rd with 6 points and 6-6 goal-difference.
Bolivar – 2nd with 6 points, but with 13-6 goal-difference they bested Destroyers and went ahead.
Blooming – 1st with 8 points.
Group B.
Litoral (La Paz) – last with 5 points. Back row from left: Reynaldo Zambrana, Marcelo O. Soliz (argentine), Enrique Gutiérrez, José Freddy Cossio, Raúl Paredes, Erwin Céspedes.
Front: Oscar E. Figueroa, Angel O. Arias (argentine), Ramiro Vargas, Néstor Orellana (argentine), Juan E. Claure.
Jorge Wilstermann (Cochabamba) – 3rd with 6 points, 6-7 goal-difference.
Oriente Petrolero – 2nd with 6 points, but ahead of J. Wilstermann on better goal-difference: 11-8.
The Strongest – won the group with 7 points.
½ finals:
Blooming (Santa Cruz) lost to Oriente Petrolero 0-1 and 2-2
Bolivar (La Paz) eliminated The Strongest. Another mystery… both legs ended 1-1, there was no winner, but no one more play-off or penalty shootout… There is no reason Bolivar to qualify.
Second stage final:
Oriente Petrolero – Bolivar. They exchanged home victories of 1-0 and new play-off was scheduled, in neutral Cochabamba.
Bolivar (La Paz) lost 0-1.
Oriente Petrolero won the Second stage of the championship.
So, the winners of First and Second stage played a single-match final in Cochabamba on March 4, 1990. Not the only country in South America to have the decisive games of this year’s championship played in the next year… Anyhow, The Strongest, as befitting to their name, prevailed 1-0.
Oriente Petrolero (Santa Cruz) unfortunately lost the title. Good season, tough at the final game, but looking at the overall performance, their opponents were more deserving of victory.

The Strongest (La Paz) prevailed at the final and won the title. Of course, the losers were not happy, but the cold facts of the season made them a just victors: they practically did not lose at all – won the first stage (Oriente Petrolero was 5th), won the first phase of the second stage (Oriente Petrolero was 2nd in the other group), won the second phase of second stage (Oriente Petrolero was behind them in the same group), practically did not lose the ½ final of second stage against Bolivar. During the whole season before the final The Strongest lost a total of 7 games – Oriente Petrolero lost 15.
Thus, The Strongest got their 6th title.