Costa Rica’s national team landed at the San Jose airport on Friday, returning from Russia, at 4 in the afternoon. What drew the attention of many was that Oscar Ramirez, the team’s coach, was nowhere to be seen.
Given the threats against him and his family, airport officials decided not to let the coach leave the terminal building through the normal door, but through a side door, sort of speak.
While the team, amid security, exited through the main terminal doors, “machillo” was taken to Base 2, the special area one kilometer west of the main terminal building, away from the crowds.
The move by airport officials was not one of slight, rather, the Base 2 is a heavily secured area where ‘important’ people, like Keylor Navas for instance and former president Barack Obama on his visit to Costa Rica, are ushered away or to the airport from their plane.
The only sports blog, TicoDeporte.com, earlier this week published reports from reliable sources inside the Costa Rica soccer federation, Federación Costarricense de Fútbol (Fedefútbol), confirmed that Ramirez and his family had received death threats.
The blog also pointed out that Fedefútbol had wanted Ramirez not to participate in the Switzerland game on Thursday, wanting him to return to the country immediately.
The coach himself and Fedefútbol were quick to deny the TicoDeporte.com reports; However, players like Venegas confirmed, this Friday, that the coach was going through a hard time, very hard time.
At the main terminal, it was a madhouse, between well-wishers and few hecklers, the press and regular afternoon crowds at the airport, the members of the national team, sans Ramirez, made they way out and into waiting cars. No one was willing to talk to the press or the crowds.