Clausura 2010: Yes We Can!By: Brett | January 30th, 2010
Hello Boca Offsiders. I’m pumped today, and I think you know why. No, it’s not because I just watched Serena Williams successfully defend her women’s singles crown at the Australian Open after a genuine slog-fest with Justin Henin. I’m pumped because, almost seven weeks after we defeated Banfield at La Bombonera to end a dreadful Apertura 2009 campaign, the league is just about back. Clausura 2010 has already begun for some, and in less then 36 hours, Los Xenienes will kick-off against Argentinos Juniors at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Buenos Aires.
Now, I am usually quite a pessimistic man. Glass half empty and all that. But, when I think of our chances of challenging for the Clausura title this time around, I become overwhelmed with a sense of optimism. I believe we are in with a more than decent chance of taking home domestic title 32 and our first since 2008. So much so that the catchphrase I am bestowing upon our campaign is simply –
Yes We Can!
Now, I know your probably thinking, ‘Nice idea Brett, but Barack Obama used that exact same catchphrase during his election campaign, and after a year in office, look where it’s got him.’ Fair enough, Obama’s time in the White House thus far hasn’t really lived up to the hype, but at least allow me the opportunity to explain why I believe these three words to not be as ludicrous as they may initially sound.
Firstly, Boca Juniors is a football team. It is not trying to pass a revolutionary health reform bill through parliament, close a criminal detainment facility in Cuba or breath life into a flat-lining US economy. Boca’s only task is to win football matches.
Twelve wins was enough for Banfield to claim the title last term, and with the fixtures representing a mirror of those in the Apertura, we have been presented with very winnable home matches against the likes of River Plate, Atletico Tucuman, Racing Club, Huracan, Arsenal de Sarandi, Lanus and Rosario Central. Having a strong home record is vital if you are to challenge for honours, so we have been handed a fantastic opportunity.
Secondly, we have, for the first time in long time, no distractions. Having not qualified for the 2010 Copa Libertadores, we are free to focus all our energies on prevailing in the league. Four of our title rivals, Estudiantes, Banfield, Velez Sarsfield and Lanus are already into the Copa, whilst Newell’s Old Boys and Colon are, at present, going through qualification for the group stage. Seeing as we must face four of these teams away from La Bombonera, their participation in this tremendously grueling club competition will only aid us in our quest for points in the title race.
Thirdly, our squad looks mint. It may have taken some time, but the powers that be have managed to revitalise what was an aging, reactive, shallow squad last term by bringing in some quality, youthful, yet experienced, players.
In come midfielders Jesus Mendez (Rosario Central), Matias Gimenez (Tigre) and Sebastian Prediguer (FC Porto), whilst defender Carlos Valdez (Reggina) will replace the aging Julio Cesar Caceres. All of our new boys are in their mid-twenties and hungry for success.
We now possess quality and depth in abundance. A potential starting XI of Pato, Ibarra, Valdez, Munoz, Morel, Jesus Mendez, Battaglia, Insua, Riquelme, Gaitan and Palermo is the thing of dreams. And a bench containing the likes of Viatri, Chavez, Bonilla, Prediguer, Gimenez, Paletta, Gary Medel, Erbes, Krupoviesa, Rosada and Pablo Mouche gives us both adequate cover and versatility in all areas. There will be real pressure for places in the starting lineup, so players will have to perform to get a game. This kind of pressure is always a good thing and has been seriously lacking at Boca for a while now.
Fourthly, almost every player has something to play for. If it wasn’t enough to simply play for the love of the Boca shirt, a successful Clausura is particularly important for many in the squad. It’s a World Cup year, so players like Palermo, Juan Roman Riquelme (yes, I believe if he drives Boca to the title a place in Diego’s squad isn’t out of the question) and Uruguayan Valdez will have squad qualification in mind. Others, like Nico Gaitan, Paletta, Prediguer and Munoz must surely know that a big season could see them off, or back, to Europe in the summer. Even our manager, Abel Alves, knows that success would give him a very good chance of holding onto his job.
Feel better? A tad more optimistic? Even really, really excited?
So, let me ask you again – can we win Clausura 2010? Say it with me now –
Yes We Can!
Yes We Can!
YES WE CAN!!