So, Colombia got its tournament, not the big World Cup Finals, but the U20 Football World Cup to be held between July 29 and August 20 about the country. And the nation is ecstatic, for nationals this a chance to breathe some alegria back into the beautiful game and for once, hopefully, draw some of the international communities’ attentions away from the internal conflict and promoting a positive image of Colombia.
Last night, April 27, was the draw and teams from 24 qualified nations learned their fate and opposition.
Games will be played in the following cities: Armenia, Barranquilla, Bogota, Cali, Cartagena, Manizales, Medellin and Pereira. This grouping of cities has been chosen for obvious reasons; to show that Colombia possesses the stadia, the transport, the infrastructure and fan-base to host an event of this size. And of course, it is this spread, that can best promote Colombia as a fine tourist destination dividing the games between the Andean plateau in the capital of Bogota, the heat and colonial history of the Caribbean coast in the cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena, the Coffee Region that includes Medellin, Manizales, Pereira and Armenia and the southern lowland commercial and salsa hub of Cali. The only glaring exemption from the host cities is perhaps a representative in the department of Santander – known for its geography, fiery women and extreme sports activities – such as Bucaramanga.
Colombia has of course hosted the Copa America before and the current government of President Juan Manuel Santos firmly believes that this tournament has the chance of being the best ever U20 World Cup. And if everything is in place in time there is no reason why this shouldn’t be the case.
Tickets for the games are available to purchase online and in the offices of TuBoleta outlets in Colombia.
For those football fans travelling in Colombia when the tournament is taking place, our advice is to plan your travel well. In particular if you are not a football fan and you do not wish to be caught on a bus with other fans! For the true football experience, try and get tickets to see the host nation play, as there is no knowing how far that home advantage may take the U20 Cafeteros. Otherwise, you are advised to head to the industrial port city of Barranquilla.
Barranquilla will be hosting all of Egypt’s group games and not only is the north African nation playing Brazil, Austria and Panama but that this is Shakira’s hometown. There is a sizeable Arabic population here in Barranquilla and so support for Egypt (who probably claim Shakira as one of their own despite her roots being from Lebanon) will be unrivalled.