Colombia National Team: why they train in Medellín and not in Bogotá to face Ecuador – International Football – Sports
How to counteract the effects of altitude has been a topic of conversation in football for years. The Colombian National Team, headed by Néstor Lorenzo, begins to look for a way to minimize its effects when it has to play on Tuesday against Ecuador in Quito. on the fourth date of the qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.
The lights of the Roberto Meléndez stadium had not yet gone out when the National Team team got on a plane and left for Medellín, the intermediate stop before traveling to Ecuador on Monday.
Although the possibility of the National Team training in the capital of Antioquia had been leaked three weeks ago, many still wonder why the team went there and not to Bogotá, where even the Colombian Football Federation has a very complete sports headquarters, inaugurated in October 2016.
Who made the decision to train in Medellín? It was Lorenzo himself who made the determination to prepare the game in that city.
“It is a concept of theirs that we share. We will stay there practicing, training until Monday, when we will travel on a direct charter flight to Quito,” he explained. Ramón Jesurún, president of the Colombian Football Federation, to Win Sports.
The team trained this Friday at the South Sports Center, the stadium where Envigado normally plays. That city is 1,675 meters above sea level.
Only the players who entered the second half against Uruguay participated in that practice, plus those who did not have minutes in that match. The starters of that match stayed at the Intercontinental hotel in Medellín and did recovery work there.
Then, all the players had the afternoon free and those who had family in Medellín took the opportunity to go visit them, among them James Rodríguez and Mateus Uribe.
On Saturday and Sunday, training will be in Guarne, at the Atlético Nacional sports headquarters, at 2,125 meters above sea level. It would even be planned to do a soccer practice against the U-20 team of the green club.
Theories to counteract altitude
Height has its effects when playing soccer. First, the ball is much faster. “The ball doesn’t bend” It was a historic phrase about it. Former Argentina coach Daniel Passarella threw it, after losing against Ecuador in the qualifying round for France 98.
The other effect is that of the lower amount of oxygen, which requires greater physical effort. Even Ecuadorians themselves feel it.
“Now it is different than when I played in the country. Now it costs you a little more, and you need two or three days to adapt,” declared attacker Enner Valencia, in a report prepared by Fifa in 2016.
There are two theories: prepare for 20 days or arrive as close to game time as possible. Colombia took the second option this time, although gradually rising. Will it work for you?