Cartaginés play in Costa Rica’s Primera División and host their home games at the Estadio Jose Rafael Fello Meza Ivankovich, in Cartago, which has a capacity of 13,500 spectators.
The club’s nickname is Los Azules (the Blues), but they are also known as Brumosos (the Foggers) and Cartagos. They are the oldest club in the country, having been founded on 7th July 1906 by Willie Pirie, a group of Costa Ricans of English descent that lived in Cartago.
In 1923, Cartaginés took part in the National Championship Finals against Libertad, winning 2-1 to land the title. Two other league titles were won in 1936 and 1940.
Some believe Cartaginés’ failure to win the title since 1940 is the result of a curse set on the team by a priest at the Basílica de Los Ángles. In 1940, players stormed the Basilica on horseback to celebrate their championship win. Others credit the lack of titles to the curse of "el muñeco" - a strange voodoo-like doll that was supposedly buried under Cartaginés' stadium turf to bring bad luck to the club.
Cartaginés enjoyed a superb second half of the 2012/13 campaign. After a poor Apertura term in which they finished in 11th place, a new generation of fans and a new board of directors breathed fresh life into the club and saw them finish second in the Clausura league to reach the Finals of the Torneo de Verano for the first time in 17 years.
In the Play-Offs they took on Deportivo Saprissa and sealed a 1-1 draw away which put them through to the Final on away goals after a 0-0 draw in the second leg. However, the club were not able to beat Herediano. They went behind early in the first leg, but came back to win 3-1, then lost skipper José Villalobos to a red card before going down 2-0 in the second to force extra-time with the sides level on aggregate. A goal on 99 minutes put Herediano ahead before Andrés Lezcano levelled against in the 109th, although Cartaginés fell to their opposition 5-4 on penalties.
Winning their first Copa Costa Rica game against Escazuceña 3-1 last Sunday, they play the second leg a day or so before Fulham arrive.
The current manager is Javier Delgado, who has been in charge since January 2013. A former Costa Rican international defender, Delgado is immensely popular with the Cartaginés fans after completely changing the mentality of the team and the players upon his arrival. The current chairman is Daniel Vargas Aguilar.
Striker Randall 'Chiqui' Brenes is one who graduated from the Cartaginés academy and has made a real impression. Goalkeeper Luis Torres and defender Carlos Johnson (who has just signed a new three year deal with the club) were called up to the Costa Rica squad for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, so won't be in action against the Whites.
Goalkeepers: Luis Fernando Torres, Wardy Alfaro, Alejandro Gómez.
Defenders: Pablo Herrera, Andrés Sanabria, José Villalobos (Captain), Andrés Flores Acuña, Esteban Sirias, Carlos Johnson, Diego Ramírez.
Midfielders: Paolo Jiménez, Néstor Monge, Eduardo Valverde, Gabriel Leiva, William Fernández, Leandro Silva, Randall Alvarado, Félix Montoya, Kevin Vega, Danny Fonseca.
Forwards: Randall Brenes, Andrés Lezcano, Rodrigo Garita, Bryan López, Erick Scott, Terencio de Oliveira.
30 – The number of managers, including Delgado, that have been in charge at Cartaginés since the club’s foundation.
33 – The number of times Delgado represented Costa Rica at international level.
41 – The total goals scored by Claudio Fabian Ciccia during the 2002/03 season. This remains a club record.
64 – The amount of points Cartaginés won in both league competitions last season.
360 – The amount of games Danny Fonseca Brava played to become the club’s record appearance maker in February. He has since added to the tally.
Photos courtesy of Andres Quesada Fotografia. www.cartagines.net.