The Peruvian super fan who sold his motorbike to travel to Qatar
Football fans are renowned for undertaking epic journeys to follow their favourite teams – but few can compete with Peruvian super fan David Chauca.
Describing the father of two as a passionate supporter of Peru would be a major understatement. The construction site worker from Lima pours his heart and soul – along with any spare money he has – into following La Blanquirroja, who narrowly missed out on FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualification after an agonising penalty shootout defeat to Australia.
The match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium will live long in the memory for two reasons: firstly, the heroics of Socceroos goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, whose dancing on the line helped repel two spot kicks, and secondly, the passionate Peruvian support. Thousands of fans travelled from all over the world to support Peru – and not one of them stopped singing throughout the 90 minutes, extra-time and penalties.
The man leading the cheers was Chauca, who arrived in Qatar following a 23-hour journey via Uruguay, Colombia and Spain, during which he sold his motorcycle to cover his expenses. And while the result didn’t go Peru’s way, Chauca wouldn’t change a thing.
“It is unconditional love,” said Chauca, who attended Russia 2018, which was Peru’s first World Cup qualification since 1982. “My wife says the Peru team is my lover who shares my heart. I do impossible things to watch Peru. I went to Uruguay, sold my motorbike and prayed for someone to help me. I had strong faith that someone would support me and thankfully I met a businessman who paid for my flight to Qatar. Without him it would have been impossible.”
On the night before the game, Chauca visited Peru’s team hotel and spent the night outside praying for victory. On match day, he was one of the first fans to enter Ahmad Bin Ali as the atmosphere built. But despite the passion and colour in the stands, it was the small pocket of Australia fans celebrating after 120 minutes of stalemate and an agonising shootout.
After returning home, Chauca said: “The loss was a blow for everyone. I am devastated. I sat in the stadium for 20 minutes after the game – I couldn’t believe we had lost. The tears of defeat arrived and I was hurt – but life goes on. Pain and fatigue do not exist because we follow the team out of conviction from the heart, through thick and thin.”