Every pitch tells a story: Bolivia
Our Bolivian photographer is Cecilia Marlene Farfan Lopez from Tarija, a small city in the south of Bolivia. Cecilia’s main connection to football is her football-obsessed daughter Ana who plays for Albiceleste Football School and supports Real Madrid.
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with the photos?
My favourite shot is an abandoned old football pitch near the small city of Bermejo on the border with Argentina. I loved how it looked and it’s fascinating to think about how it must have been used and enjoyed by so many people in the past, I’m sure there must be a lot of anecdotes about it. I find it amazing how everything changes - a soccer field that used to be enjoyed by so many nowadays is abandoned and its glory days seem so far away.
I also showed young girls trying to be part of the first female soccer team of a school, boys in the middle of a soccer evaluation, showing skills and trying to get a place in the male soccer team, and men enjoying a match near Tarija city.
Why is football so important for Bolivia and Bolivians?
I think football is important for everyone, Bolivians and rest of the world. Bolivians especially support our team even though our professional football team doesn’t have a good and competitive level. We need to improve a lot.
Football is the most popular and important sport in Bolivia and the most sponsored, but it still has a long way to go to achieve a competitive level.
What is the future for Bolivian football?
Personally, I hope for a brighter future for our professional football, where sponsors will give more importance in the preparation of young people, with the right foundation. We need to start from the bottom and form real athletes.
Is football a big part of your family life?
My daughter Ana plays football at home and sometimes at school, on her breaks and when she has physical education class. Unfortunately, she’s not going to a football school as she wants to, because I don’t have someone who can take her to practice and it is dangerous to send her alone.
I think football became an important part of her life because she learned to play it with her cousin when she could barely walk; it’s a way to connect with other kids. Football is a non-spoken language, a universal language. She has proven that to me, to herself, football breaks all barriers.
When my American friend came to visit me, he didn’t understand much Spanish and Ana only knows basic words in English. She was feeling a but disappointed that they couldn’t understand each other, but once they started to play football they became very close to each other, that’s an experience I have to thank football for.