Argentine player criticises South American football authorities

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Buenos Aires, Feb 22 (IANS) Argentinian player Patricio Toranzo strongly criticised South American football authorities, asking them to take responsibility for the recent road accident involving his current team Club Atletico Huracan in Venezuela.

“Someone has to take responsibility. Today we are alive but someone will have to pay because this was not free,” warned the Argentinian player on Sunday, who underwent partial amputation of three of his toes on his left foot after the bus the team was travelling in overturned on way to Caracas, reports Xinhua.

Toranzo, 33, returned home on Saturday to continue his rehabilitation after being operated on once in Caracas and twice in Buenos Aires.

“It was serious. We are all alive but it was something we all suffered from during the 3-4 days we were in Venezuela,” said Toranzo in reference to the number of transport irregularities.

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Toranzo spoke about the accident that took place on February 10 when the brakes on the bus that was transporting the Huracan team to Caracas airport stopped working. This led to the bus overturning in a mountainous region.

“In the hospital in Caracas I was very afraid they were going to cut off my foot. There were many problems but they looked after me excellently. Now I want to play again. The first thing I thought about (after the accident) is that I want to continue playing football,” said the midfielder.

“God is so great that he left my big toe and the little one (on the left foot). This is where the fifth metatarsal goes which is where the support comes from. If this had been damaged then it would have hindered my ability to play.”

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Toranzo thanked the large amount of phone calls and messages of support he had received from the world of football from stars such as Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Javier Zanetti.

“The messages are all equally important to me. However, I have not received any phone calls from Conmebol (South American Football Confederation) leaders,” complained Toranzo.

Conmebol organises the Copa de Libertadores de America, the tournament that Huracan were participating in when the accident happened in Venezuela. The day before the accident, Huracan eliminated Club Caracas, qualifying for the group phase.

In reference to Venezuela, Toranzo said, “I saw a destroyed country but despite the shortages they have, they looked after us in the best way possible.”

Toranzo began his career with Argentine side River Plate and since then has been with various clubs including China’s Shanghai Shenhua in 2013 before returning to Argentina.

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