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For more information on Bolivia, see Susan Ellison's article on her La Paz–based women's football team, Luz y Verdad.

LA PAZ, BOLIVIA, 15 APRIL 2004
Can We Blame Him for Losing the Sea, Too?
His home had been ransacked as part of domestic unrest, his wife suffered from the altitude (12,001 ft.) and, on top of it, he lost his job. Chilean national and Uruguayan-born Nelson Acosta,

Nelson Acosta publicly apologized for the loss to Chile, but it wasn't enough. (AP photo)
former coach of Bolivia's national team, has now been replaced by native Bolivian Ramiro Blacut, who will have his third go-around leading the national side ("Nuevo DT propone un cambio total," La Prensa). Acosta's unpardonable sin was losing at home on 30 March, 2–0 to rivals Chile in a World Cup qualifier, a loss made all the more difficult in La Paz by his Chilean connections. Acosta had coached Chile in the 1990s and, given the volatile history between the two countries, repercussions were inevitable ("South American Media Watch: Blame Game Begins," FIFAWorldCup.com, 6 April). Bolivia's anguished history with its neighbor has lasted more than one hundred years; in the now ironically named Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1904, Bolivia ceded territory to Chile, including critical sea passage. In addition to some 1,400 police assigned to the fixture on 30 March, disputes erupted over a planned halftime performance of the diablada, a dance celebrated during carnival among native populations in the Chilean and Bolivian Andes. No agreement could be reached, however, on which version of the dance should be celebrated, so no one danced at all ("La Diablada no se bailarà en el partido Bolivia-Chile," Bolivia.com, 11 March). In the meantime, Chilean football suffers its own decline, signaled by anemic crowds and violence ("Chilean Football Hits 'Big Crisis,' " BBC Sport, 31 March). "We're in a black hole," says Mauricio Israel, a Chilean sports presenter. | back to top