Sports — 15 June 2019
1970s football star, “Peru” Oivera back in the Jewel

BELIZE CITY, Wed. June 12, 2019– It’s been over 40 years since he last set foot on his home soil, and, like the fabled “Rip Van Winkle,” it is taking some time for former Belize City and National Football champion, Rudolph “Peru” Oivera to get his bearings right. Arriving in town late last week, and leaving his Lake I, Santa Barbara Street residence on Saturday on a solo walk across the Belcan Bridge, Peru said he wasn’t familiar with the surroundings that faced him, so he postponed his intended visit to the MCC Grounds and walked back to his Santa Barbara Street home. When Peru left Belize for the U.S. in mid-1978, BEC football field was the standout feature after you crossed the Belcan; there was no Atlantic Bank building or 13-million-dollar Fire Station in that area.

Imagine the impact on his senses when, on Sunday he accompanied younger brother Wayne “Hogman” Olivera to the MCC, and saw the Princess Hotel & Casino and BTL Park on the spot where he used to practice football on the Barracks green with Diamond A football team.

Never a man of many words, Peru was catapulted to national stardom after he “struck twice” in the last five minutes of the national inter-district football championship match at the MCC Grounds, both feeds coming from the legendary Garrincha (Anthony Adderley), when their Stann Creek Selection defeated Orange Walk, 2-1, prompting the Amandala headline, “Peru is King!”

After that 1972(?) display, Peru, along with younger brother Wayne Olivera, came to Belize City and joined the Diamond-A team. After Diamond-A folded, they both played for Sir Andie’s White Label, which won the Belize City championship in 1976-77, coming from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Charger, 4-2, in the final match.

Though solidly built and a strong tackler, Peru was nevertheless an elegant artist in midfield, who could never be forgotten by city football fans; although, like many stars before him, he had the urge to travel north, and, like Nelson Diamond sang, “time just slipped right on away.”

Welcome home, our great brother, Peru!

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Deshawn Swasey

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