- Published on 04 July 2014
The passion of the Brazil 2014 World Cup has been alive and well in Colombia, where big boys and little boys have been glued to what is going on in Brazil. Conversations on the subject have been flowing, full of thousands of details, and everyone has their favourite team. The tournament has absorbed the population and kids have certainly been enjoying it."I have the whole World Cup album," says a highly excited Guillermo Andrés Herreño Díaz, a Colombian boy who was born with bilateral deafness and who was given an implant aged three-years-old. As a tot, he learned to kick a ball around and now, at nine, he is a fan of the Colombian national team.
With eyes wide and expressive, Andrés, as they call him, talks about his favourite players, picking out Colombian Radamel Falcao, the player he most admires and whose absence in this World Cup the boy laments. "Tiger Falcao injured his knee and can't be in the team," he comments with momentary sadness before recalling Teófilo Gutiérrez, another of his favourites in the Colombian team, a striker, just the position Andrés has when he plays with his father, brother, or with friends at the football school he attends in his spare time at weekends or holidays. Teófilo plays for River Plate in Argentina, but Andrés has other favourites he cheers on too, among them James Rodríguez, a midfielder who plays for the club AS Mónaco; Carlos Bacca, a forward currently playing for Seville F.C. in the Spanish Liga, and Juan Cuadrado, who plays in midfield or at right back for Fiorentina. For Andrés, Barcelona is not such a great side. "They make a lot of mistakes and that's why I like the national side more," he says a little shyly and with an impish smile, as if he wanted to play down his comment. He does not retract, however, and laughs when asked about Catalonian footballer Gerard Piqué, who is in a relationship with the Colombian singer Shakira. But Andrés prefers to smile rather than say anything.
Andrés' parents are also followers of the national side and are eternally grateful to the specialist doctors at the Rivas Clinic, a prestigious medical centre in Colombia where they were advised in good time about their boy's implant, and thanks to whom this lad with football in his heart, an unconditional fan of his team, has friends all over the place, goes to a bilingual school, and socialises with any child of his age. For him, being hypoacusic has not impaired his enjoyment of the World Cup or his ability to declare that "Colombia deserved the FIFA World Cup in 2014".