ESTELI, Nicaragua – Real Esteli participated in six of the nine all-time Scotiabank CONCACAF League (SCCL) editions, but -- despite coming close on numerous occasions – it had never won in 20 outings.
In 16 of those matches, though, El Tren del Norte’s fate was determined by one goal or fewer. It came close to making that victorious breakthrough on several occasions, but fell just short each time.
With its first game in the inaugural edition of the Scotiabank CONCACAF League set for Wednesday against host Aguila in San Salvador, El Salvador, defender Manuel Rosas views the new competition as an opportunity for Real Esteli to take the next step in its evolution.
"Personally, it is a pride to be able to be in these type of tournaments, so important for the teams of Central America,” Rosas told CONCACAF.com. “For Real Estelí and the whole team it’s a challenge and we hope to take that leap in this new format, give it everything.
“The team is very motivated and excited to achieve a victory that is longed for…not only by the Estelí fans, but all of Nicaragua in general.”
Rosas is a veteran of SCCL play, appearing in 18 games and scoring one goal. With all that experience, he has gained a unique perspective on what is required to achieve success.
"We have to be focused, concentration is always key,” said the 33-year-old. “We’ve had good matches in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League and I think we have the human resources to compete. So let's first go to Aguila hoping to have a good result. Why not a win? Then come to Estelí aware that there are another 95 minutes like this in which we hope to give a good showing.”
The fans at the Estadio Independencia deserve nothing less.