Emelec v Jorge Wilstermann
Nothing says Copa Libertadores than a football match that sounds more like a dull courtroom drama starring Richard Gere.
Emelec were a blood thirsty corporation who liked to cut the heads off ducks. Jorge Wilstermann was a man who preferred ducks with their heads still on. He had the determination and budget for a lengthy law suit that would go all the way to the end. If you only see one legal drama starring Richard Gere this year, make it Emelec versus Jorge Wilstermann
As it happens, Emelec are related to a blood thirsty corporation, but for legal reasons we should point out that their behaviour towards the fowl of Ecuador has been not short of exemplary. A long time ago, when people still thought electricity was a type of voodoo magic, the club were founded by the chief executive of an electricity company in Guayaquil. After a long day of making electricity, George Capwell – an American – wanted his staff to be able to relax and since handing out bags of dope would have been counter-productive, opted for a sports club instead. He set up a club which played baseball, basketball, boxing, swimming and handball, but didn’t much care for soccer. It was only years later when he realised his employees had f-all interest in baseball, basketball, boxing, swimming and handball that even though he didn’t like the sport, he realised he should put all his eggs in the football basket, setting the template for many a Premier League owner in the future. They’ve since gone on to become one of the most successful teams in Ecuador. Despite the domestic success, they haven’t been able to translate it to the continental stage. They’ve made several appearances in the Copa Libertadores, but have yet to get their hands on the trophy – much like a South American version of [INSERT NAME OF ANY TEAM FROM LONDON] in the European Cup.
Imagine if Ryanair had a football team. Ok, it’s difficult to imagine any club that could embody the cheap, tacky, conceited and generally despised characteristics of the budget airline [well, outside of Manchester it is], but that’s essentially how Club Jorge Wilstermann came about. They were founded at a time when aviation was still considered a type of voodoo magic by employees of Lloyd Aereo Boliviano – the airline that was then the national airline of Bolivia. Not long after they were formed, they changed their name to Jorge Wilstermann – partially in honour of one of their first pilots and partially because they knew in several years time the name would stand out and they’d be featured in a sarky Paddy Power blog preview. The club have enjoyed some success down through the years, but as it’s all been in Bolivia, it’s really only of interest to Bolivians. Their Bolivian Apertura win of 2010 has earned them this jaunt into the Copa Libertadores, but the joy was short-lived as they pulled a Portsmouth on it and got relegated to the second division almost directly after getting their hands on some silverware.
Anyway, both sides began the Copa Libertadores with the hope rather than the expectation of success. It’s very much the ‘we know we’re not the best, but let’s give it a bash and see how far we get’ approach which coincidentally is the mantra of most budget airlines. Jorge Wilstermann have it all to do after they lost the opening match of their group stage campaign in Mexico last week whilst Emelec snatched hope from the jaws of several likely dead rubbers. The Ecuadorian club needed a last minute goal to salvage a draw at home to Brazilian talent factory, Internacional. They’re both still in the race for qualification, but anything other than a win in their second game would leave them with no margin for error.
If you haven’t got your fill of continental club competition after tonight’s round of Champions League fixtures, then why not check out tonight’s Copa Libertadores matches on paddypower.com? We’ve got streaming of several games and the meeting of Emelec and Jorge Wilstermann kicks off at half past midnight on Paddy Power TV.