In the image, Mauricio Tapia, coach of Communications of Guatemala. . / José Valle / Archive
(JOSE VALLE /)
Guatemala, Aug 28 . .- The National Soccer League of Guatemala is getting ready to start this weekend with twelve teams and a new format of the Apertura tournament after 166 days of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has infected at least eight footballers, but without symptoms.
The last champion, Municipal, led by Argentine Sebastián Bini, is the most winning team in the Central American country, with 31 titles, followed by Communications of also Argentine Mauricio Tapia, with one less.
The last game of the league was precisely between these two rivals in the classic played at the Doroteo Guamuch Flores national stadium on March 15, when the Tapia team beat Municipal 3-0, before it was suspended – and later canceled. in its qualifying stage – the Clausura tournament, which orphaned the crown.
After the confinement ended and after having started the economic reactivation with the release of restrictions on July 27, the teams returned to training and tests were carried out to detect the coronavirus, which in the country has reached at least 72,921 people and caused the death of 2,709 (3.7 percent of the total infected).
To prevent the spread of the virus among footballers, who will play a closed-door tournament until the government dictates otherwise, the League asked teams to test their players. So far, eight asymptomatic positive cases have been registered in six teams.
The infections have been identified in the recently promoted Achuapa, Malacateco, Guastatoya and Comunicaciones, in addition to two in Xelajú and two more in the current champion, Municipal.
More than five months after the previous tournament was unfinished, football will return with an organized tournament to avoid long trips for teams, with a format of two groups of six teams divided by regions.
The teams will play two rounds until completing ten games and then they will face each team from the other regional group once, in order to complete six more games, for a total of sixteen.
Eight teams will qualify for a league until reaching the final in December.
The first day will be played on Saturday with three games: Communications against Xelajú by former Guatemalan coach Walter Claverí, the recently promoted Sacachispas against Achuapa, and Cobán Imperial as host of Municipal.
On Sunday they will close: Iztapa against Costa Rican Ronald Gómez’s Malacateco. Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa in front of Antigua, by Mexican Antonio Torres Servín; and Guastatoya against Sanarate.