Fri, Dec 24, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Attackers leave Colombian coach paralyzed for life

DPA , BOGOTA

Luis Fernando Montoya, coach of Copa Libertades champions Once Caldas of Colombia, has been left quadriplegic after being shot in the neck, doctors said yesterday.

Montoya was shot and seriously wounded on Wednesday and was in the intensive care section of a hospital in the city of Med-ellin, according to police and rescue officials.

Montoya, age 47, was assaulted and shot by two men who had burst into his home, apparently in chase of his wife who had just withdrawn money from a bank, according to a top police official, Luis Alberto Ruiz.

Montoya, who coached Once Caldas to a spectacular upset over Boca Juniors of Argentina in the Copa Liberatadores just months ago, had received two bullet wounds in the neck that forced installation of a mechanical ventilator, according to officials at the clinic.

Javier Orozco, a hospital official, said Montoya was "stable," but his injuries made it difficult to complete a full evaluation.

He was conscious when he arrived at the hospital.

Montoya, considered the greatest technical coach at present of Colombian football, was wounded in the municipality of Calda, next to Medellin, during a struggle with the attackers.

Montoya had travelled to Medellin to spend the year-end holidays.

His wife had entered the house carrying a large amount of money, when Montoya realized she was being chased by two individuals, Ruiz said.

The coach had not announced immediate plans for the future, but had planned to travel to Europe to rest up and soak in the soccer culture of the Old World.

Colleagues and officials form the football world converged on the Clinic of the Americas to follow their companion's progress.

"It is a lamentable event. It is incredible that these things happen," said Jairo Quintero, president of the Caldas 11.

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