By Stephen Byrne
The Fifa World Cup begins in Brazil on 12th June and we will be looking at Rovers’ connections with all participating countries.
The sole Chilean-born opponent in a first-class fixture involving Rovers was George Robledo.
No Rovers player has had Chilean nationality or played for any club in Chile, but George and Ted Robledo were brothers, born in Iquique in April 1926, who came to Britain in 1932 and settled in Yorkshire.
When they appeared together in the 1952 FA Cup Final, it was the first time that any Cup-winning side had featured more than one non-British-born player.
The previous season, George Robledo was in the Newcastle United side that faced Rovers in an FA Cup quarter-final at St James’ Park in February 1951.
It was Rovers’ first appearance at this stage in the tournament and the Third Division (South) side did itself proud, holding the Magpies to a goalless draw before succumbing to a 3-1 defeat in the Eastville replay.
The eleven Newcastle players who had struggled to overcome Rovers went on to win the trophy at Wembley that May. Robledo, who won 31 caps for Chile, scoring eight times, later played for Colo-Colo and Club Deportivo O’Higgins and died in Viña del Mar, Chile in April 1989.
Since then, the only opponent with a Chilean connection appears to have been Walter Otta, who played in Walsall’s 2-2 draw with Rovers in the Freight Rover trophy in December 1998.
Born in 1973 in Argentina, Otta furthered his career in Spain, Honduras, Bolivia, Portugal, Peru, Ecuador, Canada and Germany. In 1996 he signed for Peurto Montt, a Chilean side for whom he scored fifteen goals in 29 matches and he added sixteen goals in 33 games for Temuco between 1997 and 1998.