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  • San Salvador and Harare, Zimbabwe | 7 January 2004 . . . We learn about the mysterious The El Salvador team returns. Or does it? Photograph from El Diario de Hoy, San Salvador.El Salvador national side that was not the El Salvador national side. Or was it? Investigations by reporters at the Herald in Harare determined that the El Salvador–Zimbabwe friendly on 4 January featured just two regulars from El Salvador's full national team; in addition, the coach, Juan Ramon Paredes, did not bother to make the trip (Steve Vickers, "Zimbabwe in Controversy," BBC Sport). For their part, the Salvadorans say they never knew they were being billed as the national team (Orestes Membreño, " 'No se nos dijo que éramos la Selección,' " El Diario de Hoy, 9 January). In any case, they fared pretty well, drawing 0-0. Zimbabwe's Sports Commission has started an investigation into how they were duped, if, indeed, they were duped (Tendai Ndemera, "Investigations into Fiasco Begin," The Herald, 9 January). Regardless of the outcome, one institution that seems to have prevailed is The Herald, which is proud of how its curiosity came to capture, momentarily, the attention of the world-football press.

    What began as routine investigations by The Herald has turned into a global story that is making headlines around a world bemused by how a group of impostors could masquerade as a national football team and play an international friendly in a foreign country. . . . Normally local football stories in this country barely go beyond our borders but the story about the fake El Salvador national team, unmasked after investigations by our journalists, has spread across the world. (Robson Sharuko and Lawrence Moyo, "Fake El Salvador Saga Dominates," 9 January) | back to top