A lot of optimism and joy was what was experienced in the hours before the match between the Venezuelan and Ecuadorian national teams corresponding to round 5 of the South American Qualifiers towards the 2026 Soccer World Cup.
By: Correspondent lapatilla.com
Fans from all over Venezuela came to Maturín -Capital of Monagas State in eastern Venezuela- by air and land as groups of friends, families or individually on their own or booking travel packages purchased well in advance.
Hotels and inns were packed, which for the tourist industry in Monagas is very positive every time a sporting event occurs where “La Vinotinto” (Wine red, the uniform color) plays. Emblematic places such as the Maturín Cathedral and the La Guaricha zoo are the most visited by tourists and where most get their souvenir photo.
For those who live in Maturín, it is also beneficial when the national team plays, since on the day of the game, as happened in the previous two, basic services such as electricity work without any problem, which some describe as an “abnormal” day” since continuous electrical failures are common.
But it is not only electricity, but fuel that: “mysteriously” appears, considerably reducing the long and usual lines that have become common to see even at “dollarized” service stations.
Alcides Figuera, a citizen we interviewed, believed that it was only these days of ‘Vinotinto fever’ where services work as they should. “The day of the game itself is an incredible thing, because not a single blackout occurs, but the game passes and the ‘blackout party’ returns. For example, the first game was on a Tuesday, the next day the power went out about six times. And whenever it was restored in less than half it went out again,” said Figuera.
Although it may seem unusual, upon arriving at the stadium, the data signal from all the cellular phone operators stops working, preventing messages from being sent instantly through applications such as WhatsApp or Telegram. This situation affected the work of sports journalists who needed to send minute by minute updates of the game to their newsrooms.
The behavior of some fans also left a lot to be desired. Such was the case of the ‘barra’ (group of fans) that was stationed in the northern area of the sports venue that just minutes before the game began threw rolls of toilet paper onto the playing field where the opposing team’s goal line was.
Despite the constant calls for attention from the well-known artist “Coquito” made over the PA system so that they stopped throwing objects onto the field the situation persisted, which was protested by the Ecuadorian goalkeeper and his teammates.
Harsh criticism poured in on the organization of the event on social media, blaming the security company for the chaotic situation that arose hours before the game. Unlike the two previous matches, citizens described the security provided as “a disaster.”
Many fans were not able to enter the venue even with their tickets in hand, as security personnel claimed that all the stands in the stadium were completely occupied. However, a block located in the southern area was empty, because it was set apart for fans of the Ecuadorian team, but when they did not attend, the access to this section was opened and people ran to secure a seat.
On the outskirts, the lapatilla.com team captured on video the moment when people broke through one of the security rings and a few meters behind, knocked down a chain link fence to run to one of the entrances without going through the corresponding body check.
Once the match started, the gates of the different sections were closed, leaving a large group of fans in the hallways banging on the doors trying to enter. “It was a total disaster, God is so great that he did not allow a misfortune, because it would have been a monumental tragedy,” commented Alfredo Andrade, an attendee at the event.
It is worth noting that this security company was changed by the Venezuelan Football Federation due to alleged irregular events that occurred in the matches against Paraguay and Chile with the previous company of which we only know was called “Moto Ratón”. However, during both of these matches citizens praised this organization that, together with the different State security forces, provided security to the attending public.
In videos that have gone viral on social networks can be seen how the crowds entered the sports arena under a great risk of a stampede occurring. Likewise, fights were the order of the day without the security forces doing anything about it.
Aquí van a rodar cabezas por la organización de este partido”
— Reporte Ya (@ReporteYa) November 17, 2023