Only yesterday the Chilean women’s team bagged the fair players award, but the nation’s team cheer and compassion has continued and not gone unrecognised with the Chilean men’s team following suit and winning the Day 5 FIFPRO Fair Play Award.
It was a well-fought match yesterday between Team Bulgaria and Chile, with the latter team winning only marginally at the penalty shoot-out stage. Initially distraught, the Bulgarian team players were picked up by the opposition team and manager.
All smiles, the Chilean men’s coach Sebastian Alcalde explains: “We won the fair play award yesterday because when a player from Bulgaria was crying after the game yesterday, I walked up to him and put my forehead on his, wiping the tears off his cheek, and simply gave him a hug.
“I said to him and everyone: If you never try you will never know. Never give up.”
Wearing their medallions with pride, Alcalde explains how winning the award is an appreciated recognition of their team ethos: “The award is important for the team, because for me as the coach, I try and transmit to my players the importance of playing fair. And in the end if we become champions or not that isn’t the most important thing. The important thing is the life experience gained by every player, being here. It is in everything we teach. Above all, to have respect for one another and to respect the rival also.”
The award was presented by former professional player and Professional Footballers Association (PFA) representatives Michael Bennett, Shane Birtless and John Hudson.
Words: Deborah May
Images: Mile 44