World Cup Legends: Costa Rica and Errol Daniels

by Alan Robins

errol daniels‘Don Gol’ – Jorge Errol Daniels Hibbert, was born May 1944 in Guácimo in the Limón Province of Costa Rica. Educated at Saint Francis College he was noted for his footballing ability, until in 1962 at the age of 18 he signed for Liga Deportiva Alajuelense alongside his brother Floyd.

Initially in The Manudos youth team, Daniels slowly built his profile within the club but it would be in June 1964, just after his 21st birthday that the youngster would make his senior debut. He was instance success scoring twice in victory over CS Cartaginés. The performance was perhaps more impressive as he played left-wing – the centre forward position was already occupied by the excellent ‘El Loco’ – Juan Ulloa Ramírez.

‘Don Gol’ would go on to score 24 goals that year, in doing so becoming top scorer in the league. It was an impressive return for a debut season. The following season would see Daniels take top scorer title again [this time with 32 goals] and earn his first call up to the national team on the 21st February 1965 in a 4-0 victory over Suriname – the debutant scoring the third.

At the time Costa Rica were perhaps only second to Mexico as the predominant force in the region. Building on the ‘Golden Shorties’ team of the 1940’s, through the 1950’s and 60’s The Ticos were only outshone by El Tri – finishing runners-up in World Cup qualifying three times in a row between 1958 and 1966.

The Ticos had won the 1963 CONCACAF Championship, finished third in 1965 [to Mexico again], before winning the title for the second time in 1969. Costa Rica had some strength in-depth and Daniels was one of the stars scoring eight times in 19 matches, though his national career would ultimately only last five years.

In 1966 Daniels was again top scorer [shared with El Loco] on 30 goals as the two led The Manudos to the league title. Ramírez departed at the end of the season leaving ‘Don Gol’ as the focus of the attack. He responded with an outstanding 42 goals the following season. Needless to say he was the league’s top scorer again. He would take the crown on two more occasions – 1968 [23 goals] and 1970 [25 goals], LD Alajuelense taking the title in 1970 and 71.

In April 1971 ‘Don Gol’ suffered a broken leg in a match. It would keep him out for fourteen months. He returned in June 1972 but maybe the injury had taken its toll and he retired that year.

Errol Daniels looks were perhaps deceptive which – slender and standing just 1.72 meters – hid a pace and power with an explosive shot. In his league career he scored 196 goals in just 168 matches. It was a career sadly cut short by injury but still ranks him as one of Costa Rica’s greatest strikers.

 

GREATEST SQUAD – STARTING XI [3-5-2]

       LUIS GABELO CONEJO

MARIO COREDRO          ROGER FLORES                LUIS MARÍN

MAURICÍO SOLIS                 OSCAR RAMÍREZ
WALTER CENTENO

HERNÁN MEDFORD                                                                                                           JUAN CAYASSO

PAULO WANCHOPE                       ERROL DANIELS

 

GREATEST SQUAD – RESERVES

GK: RICARDO GONZÁLEZ
GK: ERICK LONNIS
RB: HAROLD WALLACE
LB: LEONARDO GONZÁLEZ
CB: JERVIS DRUMMOND
CB: RÓNALD GONZÁLEZ BRENES
CDM: GERMÁN CHAVARRIA
CM: WILMER LÓPEZ
RW: LEONEL HERNANDEZ
AM: RÓNALD GÓMEZ
ST: JUAN ULLOA RAMÍREZ
ST: ROLANDO FONSECA

 

Created by Alan Robins and images by Jorge Manuel Martins

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