At first glance, perhaps it has something to do with the altitude. Having their home games in La Paz means that this team are playing football at an incredible elevation of over 3,600 metres above sea level. To put that into context, when Argentina played Bolivia in an international fixture in La Paz, Angel Di Maria had to be given oxygen on the pitch while Lionel Messi was busy throwing up. You would have to be the strongest not to pass out in such conditions… But in fact, the story behind this South American team goes a little further back.
In 1908, a group of friends from La Paz decided to create a football club. There was an early consensus that the club name should contain the English word ‘strong’, and so the ‘Strong Foot Ball Club’ was established – this would go on to become ‘Club The Strongest’.
The black and gold stripes seen in the badge and shirt of the club are the same colours as the chayñita, an indigenous bird of the La Paz region. Thanks to this, the club have become known as the the Aurinegros (‘Black and Golds’ – a name adopted way before that Sam Sparro song ever hit radio stations). The mascot of the club started out as a llama, and was even a leopard at one point, before it finally became a tiger – something also reflected on the badge itself.
On top of all this, Club The Strongest hold the remarkable position of being a football club that has a battle named after it. During the Chaco War, a three-year conflict between Bolivia and Paraguay in the 1930’s, players and staff of the club made up a division of the army and excelled on the battlefield. The courageous death in action of Jose Rosendo Bullain, a former player of The Strongest, was particularly remembered in the war effort. As a result of this, the battle in which Jose Rosendo Bullain lost his life in 1934 would forever become known as the Batalla de Cañada Strongest.