Truth be told, I only watch football (or soccer for all you Americans reading this) whenever the World Cup comes around. So, basically, I like football every four years. However, I was lucky enough to partake a football match with C.D. Olmedo, the pride of Riobamba versus Gualaceo, a team from Azuay province.
Fun Facts about Olmedo
- They won their lone Ecuadorian championship in 2000 making them the only team not based in Quito and Guayaquil to accomplish this feat.
- Olmedo was founded in 1919 making them the oldest professional football club in Ecuador.
- The current squad plays in Serie B, the second tier of the Ecuadorian football league.
Right before we went to the game, I told the group that it was my first live professional football match ever, Chris, a Riobambero, responded with, “Don’t expect too much.”
When we arrived in Estadio Olimpico, there was a semi-long queue to buy tickets and plenty of fake jerseys for sale. For a whopping $5, I got a general admission ticket. (And for those who can’t wait more than 10 minutes, there are scalpers selling the same general admission ticket for $7.)
Inside the stadium, there were three main sections, each with its own set of Olmedo fanatics. In the premium section, they also had cheerleaders.
Our section of fans included a dog and a drunk guy. He was good entertainment.
Whenever Olmedo scored a goal, diehard fans scaled the fence that surrounded the perimeter of the field and stayed there until the ball was in play again.
Ecuadorian Stadium Food
Ecuadorian stadium food is quite a stark contrast to American game food. Carts served guatita (a tripe stew with potatoes), seco de pollo (chicken stew served with rice) and llapingachos (potato patties with cheese). Vendors also served huevitos (donuts), habas (boiled fava beans) and papitas con ají (potato chips topped with Ecuadorian chili sauce). Somewhat healthy options include coconut and pineapple juice, sliced mangos, níspero (loquat) and what is supposed to pass as coffee.
As for the game itself, it was rough, and I’m not exactly a football aficionado. There were a lot of questionable non-calls. Only two yellow cards were given. Dan, my football guru this game, called the match “nasty”. I had trouble following the ball, and at one point, I didn’t even see Gualaceo score.
Olmedo pulled out a win with a score of 2-1. They are still stuck in 5th place, but fans left happy with a victory.
It was a good two hours well-spent. I got to see my first football game live, and I felt like a local. Next time, I would probably bring a warmer jacket and some snacks with me.