Colombian Dream | Tolima: Colombia #4 | Football Manager Stories

Alejandro Hurtado’s Colombian nightmare has changed completely, becoming a Colombian dream. The Chilean manager has turned things around at Deportes Tolima, despite coming into the season under threat of being sacked.

I had originally planned to write the next VivaGlobetrotting post at the end of the 2025 season, however a lot has happened in the Apertura and it deserves it’s own post.

At the end of our previous post, we went into the winter break with the sack looming over our head. Alejandro Hurtado was left with a decision: stay with Deportes Tolima or look elsewhere.

Hurtado remained as manager of Tolima but still required to gain one point in the first two matches of the season to keep his job. Let’s take a look at all that’s happened throughout the Apertura stage in 2025.

Apertura 2025

Transfers

transfers-out

Leaving the club were two key players mentioned in our first Deportes Tolima post: Nelson Angulo and Jhonny Vargas. Angulo had a dreadful season and I was happy to receive £500K for him. Vargas on the other hand was taken from me without my permission.

The board decided that £500K was enough to sell our best centre-back for, leaving us to play an 18-year-old at the back for the rest of the season.

transfers-in

Alejandro Hurtado decided to splash the cash in his first full transfer window, bringing in eight players for over £3M. Emmanuel Zurbriggen is the standout player of the eight and was brought to the club to do what Angulo couldn’t: score goals.

Apertura Overview

With Hurtado’s points tally set at ten from five games, he needed just one from the opening two league games of the season.

1st-match-of-the-season

Sebastian Narvaes of Deportivo Cali helped us on our way to a 2-0 win by getting sent off in the first twenty minutes. Alejandro Hurtado’s job at Tolima was declared safe by the board.

And from this moment onwards we went on a brilliant run, winning 13, drawing four and losing just three games in the Apertura. We finished 3rd in the league behind America de Cali and Atletico Nacional.

apertura-league-table

apertura-knockout-rounds

Each stage, the Apertura and Finalizacion, is decided by the winner of a knockout (which when you finish eight but can still win the league is incredibly unfair). We reached the final of the knockout but lost on penalties to Atletico Nacional.

  • Emmanuel Zurbriggen top-scored with 16 goals despite netting just once in his first ten games

In order to complete Colombia we will need to win BOTH stages in Colombia.


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Finalizacion 2025

Transfers

Our young attacking midfielder was sold for £800K shortly before the second leg against Atletico (again sold by the board). To replace him we have bought in Charles Tieppo Paz.

He could be a huge factor in the success of this season.

charles-tieppo-paz

And we have started the Finalizacion brilliantly, winning seven of our first eight matches. We are tied with both Atletico Nacional and Millonarios for 1st place. This could be a thrilling season.

finalizacion-first-8-games

In the Colombian Cup we have progressed to the Semi-Final, and we fully anticipate reaching the final after drawing second tier side Rionegro Aguilas in the SF. A win in the Colombian Cup would be excellent progress towards completing Colombia.

colombian-cup-progress

The Colombian Dream

colombia
The Colombian Dream – Colombia appoint Alejandro Hurtado as manager
Incredible news came just into the Finalizacion as Colombia’s National side approached Alejandro Hurtado to be their manager.

Despite his obvious ties to Chile, Hurtado accepted the role as it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

world-rankings

Colombia are currently 4th in the World Rankings due to several impressive performances in previous tournaments.

  • The South American nation reached the Semi Final of the 2022 World Cup, losing to eventual winners France

world-cup-2022

  • Colombia continued their World Cup form by winning the Copa America in 2023. They beat Brazil on penalties in the final

copa-america-2023

Alejandro Hurtado’s first two games in charge of Colombia resulted in their qualification for the World Cup in 2026.

A draw against Ecuador was enough to secure qualification.

colombia-v-ecuador

colombia-v-chile

Hurtado’s second match in charge saw an emotional match against his beloved Chile. Feelings were put to one side, however, as his Colombian side beat Chile 2-1 with a stoppage time winner.

Though unbeknownst to the Colombian setup, Hurtado does not plan to stay with the team long term. The dream is to eventually manage Chile, and as such Hurtado will most likely be resigning from his role as Colombian manager after the 2026 World Cup.

All is well in Colombia.


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Thanks for reading Part 17 of VivaGlobetrotting. Be sure to share this post if you have enjoyed and follow my website.

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