Colombia’s program celebrated its fifteenth anniversary last year. They are one of youngest countries amongst the big South American powerhouses of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. They finished fourth at the 1998 and the 2002 World Championships. They also participated at the 2000 World Championships but missed the competition in 2006. They also participated at the 2010 World Championships. They competed at the 2007 Para Pan-American Games. The team has never competed at the Paralympic Games. Based on past performance, Colombia should finish in the middle pack. Last year, Colombia won the first ever Central American and Caribbean Championship. It was the first gold medal finish in the team’s history. They meet China, Turkey and Brazil in group play in what should be a group of death with no team obviously going to finish last.
Colombia has little recent experience against other teams in the competition. They lost 1 – 0 at the 2013 Copa America, 1 – 0 to Argentina at the 2011 Para Pan-American Games, and 1 – 0 to Paraguay in penalty kicks of the bronze medal match at 2013 Copa America. Against other teams in their pool, Colombia only has extensive history with Brazil. They lost to Brazil 3 – 1 at last year’s Copa America in Argentina. They lost 2 – 0 to Brazil at the 2011 Para Pan-American Games. At the 2002 World Championships, they lost to Brazil 2 – 0. They have a limited history against Turkey and China.
Colombia has played other teams in the competition. Argentina put away Colombia 5 – 0 at the 2002 World Championships. South Korea and Colombia drew 1 – 1 at the 2002 World Championships. They beat South Korea 3 – 0 at the 2010 World Championships. Spain defeated Colombia 2 – 0 at the 2002 World Championships.
Colombia has seen success against teams not in the competition. Last year at Copa America, they beat Uruguay 4 – 0 with Juan Pablo Parra, Jhon Hernandez and Juan Sebastian Zarate scoring for Colombia. They beat Chile 2 – 1 with Juan Pablo Parra scoring and they beat Peru 3 – 0 with Parra again doing all the team’s scoring. They also beat Mexico 3 – 2 with Parra again scoring 2 and Jhon Hernandez scoring 1. At the 2011 Para Pan-American Games, they beat El Salvador 5 – 0 with Hernandez and Parra as the team’s scorers. They also beat Mexico 4 – 0 with Parra doing all the scoring. They also beat Mexico 2 – 1 in the same competition with Parra doing all of the scoring.
Thirty-year old Fredy Duvian Lopez is the player to look out for. He led his team in scoring at the 2013 Central American and Caribbean Championships with seven goals. Other members of that Colombian team included Holman David Moreno, Luis Antonio Castañeda Tenjo, Fernando Walteros, Alfonso Pinilla, and William Silva. The team’s goalkeepers were Ivan Castañeda, and Luis Alejandro Castañeda. Thirty-one year old Holman David Moreno has been a member of the team for the past twelve years. Julián Jaramillo was a member of the youngest member of the national team at twelve years of age after having taken up the game when at the age of nine, but it seems unlikely to accompany the team to Japan. In recent history, Juan Parra has been the best player for the Colombia, one of the team’s leaders in scoring in previous international tournaments though he hasn’t played for the team recently.
Luis Antonio Castañeda was born in 1956, and will likely be one of the oldest members of any team competing at 58 years old. He has been a fixture on the national team since it was founded, and is one of the people credited with putting the game on the blind sport map in the country. One of Castañeda’s sons serves as the team’s technical director.