Peruvian soccer player and coach Freddy Ternero died of cancer on Friday at 53 years old.
Ternero won four Peruvian league championships with the Lima-based Universitario de Deportes. He also played for Leon de Huanuco, San Agustin, Defensor Lima and Cienciano in a career that spanned over a decade.
However Ternero will be forever remembered as the coach who led the Cusco-based Cienciano club to the 2003 Copa Sudamericana championship, the only international title won by a Peruvian team. Ternero inspired the low-ranked team to victory over the Argentinean soccer giants, River Plate, with the iconic phrase “Si se puede” (Yes, we can).
Ternero followed the Copa Sudamericana championship with a victory over the Argentine Boca Juniors to win the Recopa Sudamericana in 2004.
After his career in soccer, Ternero turned to politics and served as mayor of Lima’s San Martin de Porres district for two terms.
Ternero had been hospitalized for the last four months in his struggle against liver cancer. Hundreds of fans and sports figures attended his funeral in Lima’s Campo Fe Huachipa cemetery.
Watch America TV’s tribute to Ternero below.
El cáncer apagó la vida de Freddy Ternero a los 53 años (El Comercio)
Freddy Ternero, el técnico que marcó un hito en el fútbol peruano (Andina)