Football: Colombia's coach `living in fear'

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The Independent Online
COLOMBIA'S coach, Hernan Dario Gomez, has put into words the fears that weigh on his World Cup squad.

Along with some of his players, Gomez has received death threats - which cannot be ignored in the light of the assasination of the defender Andres Escobar after the 1994 tournament. "I'm far more concerned about the return than about the World Cup," Gomez said.

"We're not having fun," he added. "We're embittered. We wanted to feel happy, content because we qualified. But we're worried, tense, anxious and nervous about returning home.

"I keep thinking about what happened after our elimination in USA 94. I'm living in fear." Gomez was an assistant coach with the 1994 side, whose coach, Francisco Maturana, subsequently had to leave Colombia because of death threats.

The Dutch squad, in contrast, have only injuries to worry about. The Arsenal pair of Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars, plus Patrick Kluivert of Milan, missed Sunday's warm-up match against the Swiss side, Lausanne, because of various ailments. That gave an opportunity to two other players from English clubs.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink of Leeds United and Nottingham Forest's Pierre van Hooijdonk scored a goal each in the 4-1 win over Lausanne, against whom Hasselbaink had a particularly good game.

The Dutch coach, Guus Hiddink, may keep Bergkamp on the bench for his team's three remaining warm-up games in order to rest his hamstring injury.

"We are not taking the slightest risk," Hiddink said. "If anything else happens to him during our preparations, then his World Cup is over."

In a friendly in Santiago on Sunday, goals from Ivan Zamorano and Marcelo Salas gave Chile a 2-0 half-time lead over Uruguay, who hit back to claim a 2-2 draw with second-half strikes from Nicolas Olivera and Marcelo Zalayeta.