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America de Quito: Ecuador's First Continental Champion

Posted by John Hickey on


In 1971 CONMEBOL organized the second, and last, edition of the Copa Ganadores de Copa. After the inaugural edition, the cup was struggling to build momentum and clubs seemed disinterested.

Brazil and Colombia had announced ahead of time that they would not send representatives. Argentina wanted to, but failed to find a club willing to participate. Chile and Uruguay determined who their representatives would be but the teams withdrew before the cup even started. Oriente Petrolero, from Bolivia, who had been drawn in a group with these countries, was left without opponents to face and would never enter the pitch.

Due to this unusual situation, CONMEBOL decided to proceed with the remaining clubs but declared it to be a "non-official friendly cup". America de Quito, a small neighborhood team from the Ecuadorian capital, topped Group A with 2 wins, 1 draw and 0 goals conceded. Because Group B had been completely decimated by withdraws, America-ECU was left without an opponent in the scheduled final and was crowned champion.

Even though it is not officially recognized by CONMEBOL, to this day America de Quito considers itself the first Ecuadorian club to lift an international trophy.


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