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Colombian striker rises from obscurity to become Peruvian league's top scorer

IANS logoIANS 27-05-2017

Jefferson Collazos, a 26-year-old forward who was instrumental in Academia Deportiva Cantolao's rise to Peru's top division for the first time, is currently enjoying the fruits of his hard work and persistence after stints with teams in Colombia, Mexico and even Africa, reports Efe news agency.

In an interview with Efe this week, Collazos looked back on his long road to the upper echelon of Latin American soccer.

"It was very tough. It's been quite a difficult road. I had a year when I didn't have a team, and there were people who told me I should stop playing. But I knew I could keep going and find another one," he said.

Collazos began playing at an academy in the southwestern Colombian province of Cauca and rose through America de Cali's lower divisions until earning a spot on its first team, although he was never inserted into the lineup.

His career then took him to the tiny Central African nation of Equatorial Guinea, where his team was crowned champion, and later to Mexican second-division club Tampico Madero and finally to Cantolao.

"I arrived midway through the year and scored nine goals in 12 games. It was a big step to (earn a berth in Peru's first division)," Collazos said.

After scoring eight goals in 14 games in this year's Torneo de Verano, in which Cantolao finished with a record of five wins, four draws and five losses, the Colombian can now dream about a further career advancement.

"I always have my sights set on Europe, where the great players are. It's one of my dreams. I'll keep working and if I have that opportunity, it'll be very welcome," Collazos said, adding that wherever he goes he will perform to the best of his ability.

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