North and south: the unprecedented fight in Chilean football
Professional soccer has been played in Chile for 90 years. In October 1933, Magallanes won the first official tournament, starting an uninterrupted streak of 18 years for the Santiago teams. Only in 1950 would Everton de Viña del Mar break the capital’s hegemony.
It has never been easy for regional clubs to compete: they have won just 20 titles out of the 106 contested. To bring the statistics to current times, the last provincial champion of the official championship was Cobresal, in 2015, a team that is now the favorite to become champion, once the long break for the World Cup qualifying matches and the dispute ends. of the Pan American games.
The predominance of Santiago has been so evident that this season – for only the third time in history – two regional teams will compete for the crown. In 1985 Cobreloa beat Everton, while in 1988 Cobreloa itself narrowly surpassed Cobresal, the El Salvador mining group that has once again been the protagonist, despite representing a mining camp that has barely 9,500 inhabitants. .
Colo Colo’s defeat last weekend marginalized him from the fight, despite the fact that mathematically his coach Gustavo Quinteros clings to the possibility of a miracle. Almost impossible, if you consider that there is a 10-point difference between the albos and the leader, with four dates left to play, and one match pending for the albos.
The second contender for the crown is Huachipato, just three points behind the mining team, representative of the Bío Bío area and with two stars to its credit. Therefore, the final fight will be between a team from the north versus one from the south. Copper versus steel. The desert against the forest. The mountain facing the sea.
Historically, the geographical distribution of Chilean clubs has been complex. Also its representation. It is no coincidence that Cobreloa, the team created in the 1970s under the protection of Codelco, the largest Chilean state company, and with the contribution of the Chuquicamata miners, is the regional team with the most titles (eight). When the contribution decreased and the extractive tasks were outsourced, the double finalist of the Copa Libertadores could no longer compete and fell to the second division, where he plays today.
Everton, with four crowns, and Wanderers de Valparaíso (three) represent the second most populated area in the country, and it was through the port where football entered the territory. Therefore, what may be a minor fact is a complete novelty for the contest, accustomed to seeing the same players as always in the most important dispute.
In fact, the best provincial squares are today in the Ascenso division, mostly equipped with new and modern stadiums built by the State. A couple more facts: the last 10 Chilean soccer titles were shared between Colo Colo, the Catholic University and the University of Chile. Between these three institutions they have 67 championships, which makes clear the importance of what is experienced today, when they are absent from the sprint final. This is the year of the regions. And of the unprecedented struggle between the north and the south.