The long anguish that Estudiantes de Mérida experienced since the last tournament seems to have come to an end. They were just a few hours away from being sidelined from the first division of the Futve League, but the club's board of directors reached an agreement with businessman Raúl Carreño to save the institution.
Last season was very bitter for the Merideños. The tragic death of the club's president, Christian Tony, filled the team with grief and uncertainty. The new project that the board of directors had put together with Leonardo González as coach and Jesús "Pulga" Gómez as a banner on the field suffered an unexpected economic eclipse.
Debts with the squad and the players began to accumulate, although in sports the team continued to fight. He finished in ninth place thanks to 9 wins and 12 losses. They entered the playoffs to play for a place in the South American Cup and against all odds they dominated group A with three victories, the last of them giving a walk (5-2) of good play and goals against Hermanos Comenárez.
However, qualifying for the Cup did not scare away the ghosts that harassed the students. The financial commitments with the squad and the coaching staff were not fully fulfilled; the possible arrival of a new group of owners was postponed and the threat of losing the category was latent in Mérida.
But in the last few hours a lifeline emerged. Raúl Carreño, graduate in International Studies and security specialist, who reached an agreement to clean up the battered finances of the club, obtain financial solvency and keep the team in the first division.
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Carreñó arrived yesterday in Mérida where he was received as a savior. The bar of the student cadre celebrated the arrival of the leader at the Alberto Carnevalli airport with a roar of bugles and drums. Shortly after, Carreño met with the team's squad, led by "Pulga" Gómez who has guided the team's training sessions.
José Alí Cañas sounds like the new DT of the academy, which on March 8 will face Táchira in the only match to qualify for the group stage of the South American Cup.