Héctor “Pochola” Silva, historic captain of Los Pumas, died

This Monday the death of Hector Luis “Pochola” Silva, historical rugby player and member of Los Pumas. He was 76 years old and had been infected with coronavirus, which is why he was hospitalized a few days ago in a clinic in the city of La Plata.

The health picture of this glory of the Argentine sport had worsened in the last hours. After spending several days in intensive care and with a reserved prognosis, the sad outcome occurred this Monday at the Ipensa clinic, according to the newspaper El Día de La Plata, the city where the former athlete was born and developed most of his sports race. “Don’t worry, I’ll be leaving here in a few days and we’ll make a note,” Pochola had told that outlet at the beginning of May.

He was an excellent rugby player. A hero of his club, Los Tilos, whose court number one bears his name, and a hero of the Pumas, whom he captained and directed between 1965 and 1987.

Pochola Silva was so great that Guillermo Vilas copied the use of the headband from him. In turn, Silva adopted it when he was seen using a French second line on the tour that that team made in 1960. Then, he asked Nélida, his mother, to make one for him to play with. “

He was an emblematic third row, he came to play inside and fullback, but Silva was a complete player as rarely seen. Some of those who faced him domestically in the 1960s confessed that Silva beat them the game on his own, that he did everything. At the age of 14 he played in the Intermediate of Los Tilos; the following year he debuted in First. He played with adults who were 10 years older than him and at the same time he played with his friends from the fifth division. He was the captain when his club won the first title, the 1964 Reserve championship, and when he achieved promotion to the First in 1966.

The call to the tour of South Africa in 1965 was a surprise because Pochola was 20 years old and played in a team of promotion and in La Plata. “The first time I looked in the mirror with my shirt on, I felt proud. I wasn’t sure what being Puma was all about, but just thinking about it made me shudder. Nobody is capable, by himself and with the right words, to find the exact definition of what a rugby man feels when he is called up for a national team, “he wrote in his autobiographical book,” Passion and courage. ” He played 14 of the 16 matches, supported five tries and the South African press considered that he had what it takes to be a Springbok.

They made him captain in 1968.

He retired on August 9, 1980 in a match against the Rest of the World at the Ferro stadium, in which the Pumas won by 36-22.

The following year he began training national teams until in 1984 the UAR chose him to lead the Pumas along with Angel Guastella, who was the one who had called him to play again in 1978.

But Pochola’s legacy is not limited to sports. He also received a Ph.D. in Veterinary Sciences at the University of La Plata and was a teacher at that university during the 1970s.

His career earned him multiple awards and recognitions. In 1971 he was elected Player of the Year by the magazine El Gráfico and was named Honorary Member of the Sports Council of La Plata. While in 1980 he received the Diploma of Merit from the Konex Foundation.

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