With the recovery in the last two days, Atlético Nacional is experiencing a quiet moment in the BetPlay II-2022 League, the purslane team, led by Pedro Sarmiento, regained confidence to return to the group of eight and lead the classification to the finals. However, the team is evaluating the coach for next year, who would not be Sarmiento unless something extraordinary happens and along with that, there are seven players who fulfill their contract in December: Andrés Andrade, Emmanuel Olivera, Jefferson Duque, Daniel Mantilla, Danovis Banguero, Jhon Duque and Alexander Mejía, who will continue and who will stay?
Andres Andrade: The ‘Rifle’ arrived at the beginning of 2020 motivated to be directed by Juan Carlos Osorio and thus fulfill the desire to play in the Colombian National Team, his good performances were putting him in the tricolor orbit. However, his injuries made him vary his level and those downturns have called him into question. In this 2022, Andrade played 40 games, scored five goals and made five assists. In the last two games, he is finding his level again playing as a left winger. He is 33 years old and from Cali they make him ‘little eyes’ to return to America, a club of which he is a fan and had a stage a decade ago, although in Medellín he and his family feel happy.
Emmanuel Olivera: The ‘Turro’ is the bastion of the purslane defense, he arrived in silence from Colón in Argentina and little by little his work and dedication made him get into the hearts of the green fans. This was his first experience outside his country, where he has accumulated two titles. During this stage in the team, Olivera has played 88 games, scored three goals and made one assist. When they ask him about his continuity, he does not run away from the subject, but he is focused. His age plays against him a little, he is 32 years old, although for the Copa Libertadores, Nacional needs experienced players to help the youngsters. “I work day by day, I live it to the fullest, I am very happy in Nacional, my family is happy in Medellín, I already have a paisa daughter,” he said.
Jefferson Duque: The scorer reached 102 goals and got on the podium of the club’s historic gunners. At 35 years old, his position is immovable, he helps in unchecking and is supportive in the offensive game without neglecting his role as a finisher. This year he has scored 17 goals and among the fans, opinions are divided, some want him to continue so that he can retire with honors, while for others the cycle is complete.
Daniel Mantilla: The Santander attacker was one of Nacional’s revelations this year who came on loan from La Equidad, although his pass belongs to Patriotas de Boyacá. Although we do not know the clauses to make the purchase option effective, his continuity with the passing of the games in this 2022 indicates that he will be one of the team’s players for 2023. With the purslane he has 37 games and this semester he has scored two goals and made an assist.
Danovis Banguero: The former Deportes Tolima player arrived at Nacional in 2021 with great expectations, he has had high and low peaks in his game. He is picking up again and if Nacional is looking for experienced players by position to face a Copa Libertadores, they will surely sit down to negotiate an extension of the contractual relationship. There are already 94 games played with the green shirt, where he has accumulated 6 goals and 11 assists. He is 32 years old and that could work against him, depending on what the team thinks, although there is no winger who is currently fighting for the position, because Álvaro Angulo has not been able to give the necessary level.
John Duke: The 30-year-old midfielder from Bogota has had several injuries that have not allowed him to show the level with which he stood out in Fortaleza, Millonarios and that allowed him to emigrate to Mexican soccer. If he manages to have stability in this auction of the tournament, it could condition his stay in the team, although he runs at a disadvantage, due to the good level of Sebastián Gómez and Nelson Palacio.
Alexander Mejia: At 34 years old, ‘Capo’ Mejía has not had the continuity that he would surely want, like Jhon Duque, he has players who are going through a great moment like Gómez and Palacio and that position on the field is one of the most competitive in the team. However, Alexander is a team idol and the club is expected to give him some extension of his contract, taking into account what he has achieved over just over a decade in three different stages. He is a leader on and off the field and for the Copa Libertadores he could be another benchmark.
Juan Camilo Alvarez Serrano
En Twitter: @juanchoserran8