Melgar, throughout the first half of 2022, has been able to extend its success on two complicated fronts. This Sunday, the red and black will only need a draw to be crowned champions of the Opening Tournament of League 1. And three days later, they will have to fight in their fort, Arequipa, to advance to the quarterfinals of the South American Cup, after having rescued a golden point in his visit against Deportivo Cali (0-0). Both goals, as big as Characata’s ambition, are quite close to being fulfilled. And it is no coincidence.
For a long time now, the Arequipa club has been doing things well and today, more than ever, the fruits of that great project that began to be built with Juan Máximo Reynoso on the bench years ago are being seen. Many agree on that and, especially, the 10 specialists who participated in the #EncuestaDT.
The vast majority highlight Melgar as the model club of Peruvian soccer today. The positive results, both locally and internationally, fully support the red and blacks. And behind that success, there are many secrets that specialists are encouraged to reveal from their different perspectives.
Why is Melgar a model club?
- Jorge Turpo (Regional Editor of RPP Arequipa): As a club, it is not a model. They don’t even have a sports slab to train, they rent spaces to do it. There is no major activity as a club. What exists is an administration that has given it business management. It is a good deal for Mr. Jader Rizqallah who bought the club’s debt from SUNAT and, beware, he ended up being denounced for alleged money laundering.
- Jorge Jiménez (former Melgar press officer): Because he found an investor who revived the team and, based on the results and information, he is working correctly and in an orderly manner with the club (first team, minors, women, marketing). The support of the fans is total and they will surely want this administration to continue forever.
- Miguel Rebosio (Former soccer player): Because for a very long time, if we go back in time, Melgar is an institution that has been working very seriously, if I remember correctly since Juan Reynoso. I think it has left a fairly cemented base. He has never had financial problems, he is always up to date. The leadership, in this case, also plays its game apart and is doing a great job.
- Camila Zapata (Journalist for DirecTV): I think that Melgar is a club that recently decided at an institutional, administrative and football level to be a protagonist and a model. The hirings that were made in the last time were thinking of leading the local tournament and being competitive at an international level. This last squad has shown that a coach with a clear idea can go a long way, incorporating highly experienced players from abroad, but also strengthening the younger ones.
- Luis Guadalupe (Former soccer player): The Melgar thing is not that I am very surprised because before there were teams that at some point did good things. One of them was Real Garcilaso, in which I was in 2013, we reached the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores. César Vallejo in 2014 reached the quarterfinals of the South American. I don’t know if the leaders realize that when one intends to transcend at the international level, one must do things well. Melgar has serious people who have joined the club, who measured responsibility in a prestigious coach (Néstor Lorenzo). In the team you can see the work, an empowered Melgar. You realize that the player feels confident in being able to compete internationally in the same way. That goes hand in hand with the leaders who are committed to advancing as far as possible.
- Lorena Alvarez (Journalist from Latina): There is sustained work that has been carried out and is reflected in the field. They have a very young player base and that means they have an interesting projection and I think that has also helped them build an identity. The team transcends names, all join a game scheme that has helped Melgar to consolidate in the local tournament and in the Copa Sudamericana.
- Waldir Sáenz (Former soccer player): Because it respects the processes, not from now, but from Juan Reynoso. When you respect the processes, you already have an experienced team with young guys. They have been playing together for a long time. So the only thing that the coach who arrives does is adapt to them and bring some players who adapt as quickly as possible. The Melgar thing is not from now, it is from a long time ago. I think that other teams have to imitate that, especially the big ones. Melgar does not have an infrastructure or a sports complex, but the results it has I think no Peruvian team has done. There is the case of Cienciano, but Melgar comes in handy in what is a local championship and an international championship.
- Óscar Ibáñez (Former soccer player): Melgar has been doing things well for a few years now, not only at the first team level, but also in reserve and minors, which makes it a club with an important replacement. They always promote young people, I think they hire according to what they can deliver. Every time they qualify for an international tournament, they do so to compete, not just to participate. And well, he is reaping the fruits of that well-managed managerial management. I think they made a leap in quality from the time that Juan Reynoso was there and that allowed him to fight for the championships. They kept that line and well today a very competitive team is doing it, not only in the local tournament but also internationally.
- Daniella Fernández (Journalist for Movistar Sports): Melgar has managed to handle himself well financially and sportingly well. He knew how to maintain the process with the coach and the team. She sought to catch up with her payments, not have debts and has activated her women’s division. In addition, he has given value to the Peruvian soccer player and has involved the Arequipa fan with the institution.
- Armando Palacios (Historic ex-soccer player from Melgar): The leadership is orderly, and the coach has left his mark. Hopefully his replacement has the same profile, because it has worked.
What is the secret of his campaign on two fronts?
- Jorge Turpo (Regional Editor of RPP Arequipa): I don’t think there is a particular secret. I don’t see them doing anything extraordinary beyond doing their job and taking care of your business or investment. They have left the informality of the rest of the regional clubs, that may make a difference and be a good step forward. They pay players on time and keep a group of them for several seasons. The confidence placed in Marco Valencia in the minor divisions also stands out.
- Jorge Jiménez (former Melgar press officer): Juan Reynoso planted a seed of identity in everyone who belongs to the club. Néstor Lorenzo and other coaches gave the impetus for the player to sweat the shirt as it should.
- Miguel Rebosio (Former soccer player): He has done a silent job with footballers – led by Bernardo Cuesta as the benchmark and team captain – who always give their best. On the subject of foreigners, they are footballers who are also making a name for themselves at the club. There is also the issue of the squad, the planning and the seriousness with which they are facing the two tournaments at the same time. We always complain about the Peruvian teams, especially from Lima, the biggest ones, that we don’t have the results (internationally). And I am very happy and we have to feel proud of Melgar, because he is really showing that he can calmly continue advancing in the South American Championship.
- Camila Zapata (Journalist for DirecTV): Melgar has this balance of being a serious club and a model club, which goes hand in hand with the commitment of a squad, a coaching staff, and a fan that is 100% committed to the team. He has achieved a solid and compact squad, with a very clear idea of the game with which they play the 90 minutes. This has made Melgar have a level of competitiveness that allows him to be involved in the local tournament and fight in the Copa Sudamericana.
- Luis Guadalupe (Former soccer player): First of all, the player has to believe that he can do it. Second, to have a broad squad, because normally it is very difficult for the Peruvian soccer player to be able to compete in two championships, even more so when it is in high competition such as the Copa Sudamericana or Libertadores. He can do it, but it’s always good to have two balanced teams, one for the local championship and one for the international one. That is raised by the coach, who is with his players every day and knows how they are. That says a lot about what Melgar is doing, which is good. He has planned well for what he is experiencing right now.
- Lorena Alvarez (Journalist from Latina): There is great relevance in the coach’s work and we have seen it with Gareca in the National Team. Néstor Lorenzo built a base for the team from youth and that is important, from the bottom up and not the other way around, not from those who are already finishing his career but starting it. Melgar has shown that finding a good leader is the path to success.
- Waldir Sáenz (Former soccer player): It has a large campus. I think the coach has made his players believe that they are all important. So, Melgar is not out of place in the local championship with the players that the coach puts in and in the international championship as well. There you see that Melgar has a real team. The group has psyched itself up that at any moment anyone is going to play, because they are two championships in parallel and the 30 players on the squad have to be prepared.
- Óscar Ibáñez (Former soccer player): He has a great planning that comes from time ago, because he got used to fighting up front, to play and compete in the tournament that touches him. It is also made up well, with experienced players who see in Melgar an important opportunity to transcend, to give continuity to their careers, and by some young people who are making their way in this profession with a lot of talent, many with a past in youth teams, some with I go through the senior team. Having a very competitive squad where practically everyone plays, where foreigners make a difference and are starters, allows Melgar to compete in both tournaments. For this reason, it seems to me that I see a similarity in the formation of the squad to what was Cienciano when we had to win the South American.
- Daniella Fernández (Journalist for Movistar Sports): What Néstor Lorenzo did was play with the same 11 the two tournaments, that gives the team filming and automatism. In addition, he knew how to become strong at home, he has received few goals in both tournaments. These have been key factors to get into both tournaments. He has shown that it can be done. He has become very strong defensively, perhaps his outstanding debt is that he generates a lot but scores little.
- Armando Palacios (Historic ex-soccer player from Melgar): What this team is doing is superior to what my generation did, and that makes me happy. Because if we eliminate Cali, it will be a victory for all of Peru.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.