Argentine professional footballers Luciano Cigno and his brother Fernando Cigno are in Barbados riding out the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The talented midfielders who arrived in Barbados on January 11 to play with Empire Club in the Coca-Cola Barbados Football Association (BFA) Premier League said they were unable to return home because, by the time COVID 19 arrived in Barbados, the Argentinian government had already closed its borders.
Fernando, eldest of the two brothers said: “In reality, we practically had no option to return to Argentina because when they took the measures and began the quarantine, here in Barbados we were still playing the league. When they confirmed the first two cases here they (BFA) suspended the league and we had no way of returning to our country because the airport and borders in Argentina had already closed.”
Both players currently residing in West Terrace, St. James, told Barbados TODAY it was difficult being away from family including their daughters Francesca and Tiziana who are seven and eight years old respectively.
Luciano, the leading goal scorer for Empire Club this season with a total of five, explained that they spend a lot of time in contact with family in Argentina using WhatsApp.
“We have the family’s WhatsApp group and we communicate. They tell us how the situation is in Argentina and we tell him how we are here in Barbados. I speak with my daughter every day. We are so grateful for the internet which helps us a lot by being able to connect and we get to see each other. Connecting with our family helps bring us comfort. Being connected with our family is important and it is a support that one needs when being away from his country.
“It is a difficult and complex situation that the world is experiencing today due to this global pandemic. There is uncertainty about when this will end and when we will be able to return to our family. But I try not to think too much about that topic so as not to panic. Luckily I am with my brother and that is a great help for both of us,” Luciano said.
The only two Argentinians playing in the league this season, Fernando, who occupies the defensive midfield position for Empire Club explained how they pass the time while being confined.
“We try to distract the mind as much as we can because this pandemic leads us to be locked up and bored. In the morning I train here at home with my brother, I try to spend the morning training to keep fit and at the same time occupy the time. During the rest of the day, I watch the news that happens in Argentina and in the world about what happens with this pandemic. I also watch series, I talk to my family, I listen to music, I study a little and this is how I carry day by day here in Barbados. We try to do what we can because we have to respect the curfew. So, we do functional circuits (training), strength exercises of the lower and upper body, coordination and speed exercises. We do training that is long and intense so that we can maintain the form, the rhythm and above all be active,” Fernando said.
No strangers to playing football in the Caribbean, they also featured last season in Antigua and Barbuda for Old Road Football Club which a number of Barbadians played for over the years. In fact, the football resumé
of both men is impressive.
For instance, 32-year-old Luciano played for several Argentina clubs such as Almagro Club, Dock Sud, Sacachispas and El Porvenir. He also featured for Vélez Sarsfield in Argentina where he had the good fortune to join the 2009 champion squad and played with the likes of Nicolas Otamendi, the Manchester City centre-back and a member of the Argentina national team.
At that time when he played for Vélez Sarsfield in Argentina, Luciano was also coached by Ricardo Gareca who is today the coach of the Peru national team.
Overseas Luciano and Fernando played with clubs such as Bellinzona (Switzerland), Maccabi Nazareth (Israel) and in Bolivia, they featured with Club Atlético Ciclón. Fernando, 35-years-old, also played for Argentina club teams Nueva Chicago, Ben Hur, Flandria, Acassuso, Huracán and San Jorge in Argentina.
They said it was a joy to play for the Empire Club. Luciano, who had a good start to the 2020 season, said: “The truth is that I enjoy playing at Empire to the fullest. Firstly I enjoy it because playing with my brother is an immense joy, a dream for both of us and my family. Secondly, it is enjoyable because we have great potential as young players who have very good conditioning so when we get on the field, everything is much easier and is enjoyable for us to play.”
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