In the lead up to Boca's first Apertura playoff appearance yesterday one would have imagined the pre-match press conferences to be concentrating on team matters, injuries and tactics. But with Snr.Riqueleme (JRR) in the squad the meetings with journos at Casa Amarilla frequently touch topics other than flat back fours, groin strains and taking each game as it comes. This is my second post this month on JRR but he's constant source of controversy and genius.
Last Tuesday night he attended a seemingly innocuous charity event/dinner to raise funds for the purchase of wheelchairs and to fund community based eating establishments. No problems there then, all above board - JRR doing his bit for the people; now factor in the evenings organisers: La Doce, Boca's infamous hooligan firm. The event was by all accounts a huge success with 500 fans attending and around £6000 being raised. Chanci Riquelme, Roman's younger brother is a good friend of La Doce's top man - Mauro Martin which is how the star's presence was secured. Obviously no one can refuse a good cause and JRR should be applauded for giving up his valuable time before Xeneize's biggest game of the season, however an event hosted by these guys was bound to attract a certain amount of negative publicity in a season that has seen yet more football violence related deaths. Unsurprisingly there have been questions asked about the destination of the funds raised as running one of the country's biggest barra bravas is a costly business.
When questioned about the evening in a press conference JRR gave an Alex Ferguson-like performance. Insisting that the event was for amongst other things an ill child in need of a wheelchair, he was in a position to help so he helped. 'Do the ends justify the means?' asked one brave journalist 'I'm not interested in talking about this, is that so difficult for you to understand? I was there for one hour as an act of goodwill.....................one can be a Boca fan and not necessarily a bad person..........enough, enough!'. Ouch!
The negativity surrounding JRR's guest appearance didn't unduly effect the team as they ran out 3-1 winners against San Lorenzo in last nights second playoff game, although I've seen Riquelme have better games this season. A result against Tigre will see them secure the title.