Camposeco’s legacy: agony and ecstasy

XelaWho’s ear-to-the-ground correspondent, Jalapeno Jacobo, brings you the stories behind the famous faces you see around town in Xela. This month he spoke to a Teto, a superfan of Xelaju, Xela’s football team.

How long have you been a fan of Xelaju?

I’ve been a fan since I was four years old. In Xela, we have a saying, “Xelaju herencia de mi viejo,” but for me it was the herencia de mi vieja. My dad didn’t care about football, but my mom was obsessed with Xelaju. On top of that, my two neighbors took turns as the team’s mascot. Every game, one of the would dress up as a goat, dance around the stadium, and lead the crowd in cheers. I had no choice but to become a fan.

Are most Quetzaltecos as fanatical as you are?

Many of them, yeah. It’s a part of life in Xela. That’s why Xelaju is by far the most popu- lar football team in Guatemala. We average around 4,000 attendees per match, while no other team in the country gets more than 2,000.

So, what makes you such a superfan?

Fair question, but I think my record speaks for itself. I’ve attended well over 500 games. And in my best season, which was 2012, I attended every home game, all the away games in Western Guatemala, and every single game of the playoffs — both home and away. We won the championship that year. Coincidence? Probably.

Any good stories from this past season?

How about a bad story? For the semi-finals match, my friends and I arrived five hours early to get good seats. Of course, it started pouring and the game was pushed back a day. So, the next day we arrived at the stadium to pick up where we left off, but this time, there were hundreds more people. They had all claimed that the rain ruined their tickets and security believed them. Anyway, I’m not what you would call a tall man, so I couldn’t see a thing and ended up leaving early to watch the game at home. I went through all that for nothing.

I heard it’s illegal to sell booze at the stadium. Is that true?

Yes, it’s illegal to sell booze in the stadium, but that doesn’t mean anyone cares if you do it. That’s one of the few benefits of Guatemala’s culture of impunity.

Now, for the most important question: why did Xelaju lose the final?

Because they were never supposed to be in the final in the first place. Xelaju started the season so poorly we were afraid they were going to drop down to the B-league. Then, they hired a new coach to save their season and he was so good they ended up making it to the final. So, the truth is that Guastatoya was just the better team.

And finally, what’s up with Guatemalan football? Why is it so bad?

The clubs don’t invest their money well. They spend it all on old, elite, foreign players, and they expect them to transform their teams overnight. What they should do is invest that money in the development of young, Guatemalan footballers. That’s what Guatemalan football needs.

2026 here we come!