The Colombia soccer team of the early 1990s were world beaters. Qualifying for the 1994 world cup beating Argentina 6-0 along the way made stars like Asprilla world names. This brings me to one such star who met a tragic demise during the USA tournament.
Andres Escobar was a player for the Colombian team who had a great career going for him. Born in Medellin ,Colombia he featured for Atletico Nacional and Young Boys in his career. At the World cup 1994 ,Colombia struggled surprisingly having qualified fairly easily. Needing a victory to ensure a fighting chance at qualifying for the second round, Colombia faced USA. The first goal that went in would prove to be more of deadly than first thought (watch inserted video).
After the unfortunate goal,Escobar went back to Medellin to enjoy his break. One night he went out to a pub in the city. He was seen outside the parking lot arguing with 2 men ( speculated to be an argument about the first goal in the video).3 gun shots rang out from the direction where Escobar was exchanging words with the men. One Munoz confessed later in 1995 to have shot Andres in the lot. The motive has puzzled many to the very day. Here are the theories.
Theory number 1,the girlfriend. The gunman and his accomplices,well at least one of them,were said to have made a pass at Escobar’s lady friend triggering the argument. In an effort to end the statement, Munoz sought his friend the pistol’s help.Theory number 2, the Pablo Escobar connection. Everyone knew Pablo was the undisputed drug king of Medellin. He had met his demise a year earlier on a roof of one of his hideouts at the hands of the US special forces and Colombia forces. He was known to be a fan of Colombian team. He had also made enemies in the drug trade. The Andres hit was said to be a revenge mission by Pablo’s enemies. Theory number 3, the gambling theory. The gunman was said to have wagered quite a sum in the Colombia-USA match and the result set them back pocket wise. Blaming him for the result in the match,they sort Andres out and shot him. Not knowing how true it was, Munoz was said to have shouted “gol” each time he shot Escobar.An assassin with a sense of humour,if such ever existed.
Anyway,despite allegations that Munoz agreed to take the fall to protect a big fish and allegations of judicial corruption,he was sentenced to 26 years in prison (Shows how cheaply life in Colombia was viewed). He was eventually released in 2005 on good behaviour. The Andres Escobar incident shows that sport has not put in place safeguards against organised crime. Until such safeguards are inplemented,crimes like this one are likely to be repeated.