Nacional’s left back, Álvaro Angulo, was injured right at his best when he started with Alejandro Restrepo. He had a sprained ankle that took him off the court for almost two months.
Today, under the baton of coach Hernán Darío Herrera, he has been picking up pace and has been a starter in recent games. Even in the 2-0 victory over Alianza Petrolera, he had to assume the role of central defender when Cristian Castro was injured and fulfilled. THE COLOMBIAN spoke with the 25-year-old player about his career from his native Tumaco until today.
What is your present?
“Very calm, returning to my level after the injury, it was very good before, but unfortunately this situation arose. I still don’t feel full, but I’m grateful for the confidence that my teammates and coaching staff give me”.
Tell us about your beginnings in Tumaco
“I come from the same neighborhood as Pablo Armero, something that makes me feel proud. He played as a striker, and in the intercollegiate and municipal games, he was always a scorer and now I ended up as a winger, that is why I have scoring options on the pitch and I seek to step on the rival field”.
Why did he end up on the side if he was a scorer?
“When I went to introduce myself to Deportivo Pasto, in the under-17 category, they were looking for a left back and I told my agent at the time that I could play in any position. It was the longing he had. After that, things went well for me, I went up to the U-20s and played as a lane and striker, until teacher José Fernando Santa came to the professional team and he, who was a left back, told me that I had many positive things to exploit in that position. and there I stayed”.
What was the most difficult part of your arrival in football?
“As a child I could not understand or assimilate the situation, I remember that I applied to the Sarmiento Lora school and did not stay, and then I went to the Harlen Castillo school and there I was a scorer in a tournament in Pasto. Later I managed to go to Bogotá to do tests, first to Millonarios and I didn’t stay, then to Equidad and neither did I. I returned home very sad, doubting my conditions and at that time I didn’t want to know anything about football”.
How did you deal with the pressure from your family, who I imagine saw football as an economic solution?
“Yes, because all eyes were on me. My older brothers hadn’t been able to make it and I’m sure they weren’t lucky, because they were better than me”.
When did you believe in yourself again and resume football?
“In 2013 I was working with my father repairing a roof and a person from Tumaco arrived, who today is my representative, to tell me that there was another opportunity to go to Pasto. At that time I was walking up and down with my dad, doing various jobs. what had to be done to bring the food home. I told my dad to let me go, that it was the last chance he was going to give me and, if not, I would dedicate myself to other plans. I even felt that I might end up in the Army.”
How did he end up in Antioch?
“I was the revelation playing with Pasto as a left back and that was when the owner of Águilas, Fernando Salazar, became interested in me and brought me”.
And where was it established?
“In Águilas I had a better salary and I went to live in an apartment. At that time there was the coach Néstor Otero and Choronta Restrepo as well. Everyone received me very well and all these conditions allowed me to continue growing as a player”.
When did you start playing for Nacional, what feeling did you have?
“I was full of happiness. Before I arrived, two years ago, there was already an interest, but things had not been finalized. At that moment I felt frustrated, because it was the team I always wanted to play for. So I spoke and expressed that intention so that the parties would come closer. When it happened I was very happy to represent those colors.”
Is Nacional as you imagined it?
“Yes, I knew that it was the best team in the country, the most recognized internationally and seeing the infrastructure and the people in the club, I was even more convinced of that.”
Was the injury a very difficult time for you?
“I felt very sad and frustrated, I was at my best and we were also playing the Libertadores, which was a great illusion and that filled me again with doubts and questions, I didn’t know how to accept it. In his legs he had never had a serious injury. In Águilas I suffered a very strong blow to the face, I fractured my orbit and they had to take me to the hospital, but nothing serious else”.
But he’s back and that’s the important thing…
“Yes, I am playing and rediscovering myself at my best level, because I can give much more and I am sure that by the time the Copa Libertadores arrives in 2023 I will be much better than what happened.”
Who gave him the nickname of The Panther?
“We decided with my representative, we looked for a feline that could look like me and ‘La Pantera’ came out. I even like being called ‘The Black Panther.’”
What does he do in his free time?
“I am always very busy, I have a wife and two children, a girl and a boy. In addition to that, I have coaching and English classes.”
What do you enjoy with them?
“Walk with the family and take the children to the park.”
You also help the needy people of Tumaco, but you do it quietly…
“Yes, I like to help those who are in need and that fills my heart. Personally, I don’t like to show what I do, because when you do something from the heart you shouldn’t flaunt it. I speak it because you mention it. I did a campaign in December to bring 350 gifts to underprivileged children in Tumaco and I want to create a foundation”.