28 March 2010

More hard luck for Cd. Juárez

Things just went from bad to worse in Ciudad Juárez - at least in sporting terms - as the hard-luck local soccer team, Club de Fútbol Indios de Ciudad Juárez, was relegated to the Liga de Ascenso, or Mexico's second division. The relegation comes as little surprise: Indios - also known as El Tribu, or The Tribe - only snapped a 27-game winless skid last weekend and had needed to win its remaining six games to have an outside chance at avoiding relegation.

Atlante put Indios out of its misery with a 3-0 victory in Cancún on Saturday night, however.

Relegation in Mexican soccer usually comes down to a nail-biting final weekend as the team with the worst cumulative record over the past three years is demoted. The Liga de Ascenso winner, meanwhile, is promoted. Since Indios suffered through such a miserable season, such nail-biting was avoided this time around.

Ciudad Juárez, of course, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. A turf war between rival drug cartels and the gangs working for the cartels has intensified and soldiers and federal police have been patrolling the streets. The 2010 death toll in the state of Chihuahua now stands at 585, according to Grupo Reforma, and an estimated 400,000 residents of Ciudad Juárez, a former boomtown on the Chihuahua-Texas border, have decamped for presumably safer places such as neighboring El Paso - one of the safest cities in the United States.

Perhaps making the Indios story so much more sad is the team's unfortunate reversal of fortune. Founded in 2005, Indios was promoted to the top division for the season beginning in the summer of 2008. It became the little team that could: El Tribu made an improbable playoff run by defeating the defending champion, Toluca, before bowing out to Pachuca in the semi-finals.

Then the misery and losing began - and the team never snapped out of it.

Adios to Indios. Teams relegated to the Liga de Ascenso are usually not missed - a few Necaxa fans might disagree - but the Inidos just might be.

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