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Rovers World Cup Connections: Colombia

1 June 2018

We continue our look at Rovers connections to teams taking part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup - exploring links between Rovers and Colombia.

Colombia are competing in their sixth World Cup Finals and they were quarter finalists in 2014.

Two Colombian Gas

Incredibly, having previously had no connection with the country, two Colombian players have appeared for Rovers in recent years.

First, Ángelo Balanta signed for the club in September 2014. Born in Cali in July 1990 he made a dream start, scoring a last minute winning goal at home to table toppers Barnet in November 2014 as Rovers strove to escape from the Conference. Supporters will also remember that he took and scored one of the penalties at Wembley as Rovers overcame Grimsby Town in a shootout to return to the Football League fold.

Balanta in fact only scored once in 16 Conference matches with Rovers and joined Carlisle United in the summer of 2016. He was in the Boreham Wood side which played at Wembley in the 2018 Conference play off final.

When he scored at Notts County in March 2016, Cristian Montaño became the first Colombian to score a Football League goal for Rovers. Also from Cali, he was born in December 1991 and scored three goals for Rovers in 24 (+9) League games between 2015 and 2017, when he joined Port Vale. 

The Saga in the Fifties

In the 1950s Colombia had been expelled from world football by FIFA for poaching players from around the world.

Nonetheless, tempted by high salaries, a handful of young Englishmen travelled there in search of contracts. For the 1950/51 season Independiente Santa Fé signed three players who were to appear against Rovers later in their careers; all three lasted just a few months before returning to England.

After six games and a goal, Neil Franklin (1922-96) played for Hull City and he was to play four times for the Tigers against Rovers between 1953 and 1955.

Nine goals in 17 games was a decent return from George Mountford (1921-73) who later played in both QPR’s fixtures against Rovers in 1952/53.

Born in Burma, Charlie Mitten (1921-2002) scored eight goals in 24 matches and later played five times with Fulham against Rovers between 1953 and 1956.

 

 


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