As one of two Chilean policemen sent to look after the South American fans, Alejandro Montero Zuniga sometimes feels like he is responsible for the image of the whole nation, but so far has nothing but pride, ahead of their team’s Confederations Cup semi-finals.
“No incidents have occurred so far, the Chilean fans are being well-behaved, and there have been no problems at stadiums. So, we are just left to hope that the Chilean supporters carry on in the same manner,” says Montero Zuniga, whose team faces off against Portugal in Kazan on Wednesday.
Zuniga says this in perfect Russian – and this is not surprising. Born in Stavropol, he lived in Russia until he was 17, before moving back to his father’s homeland in 1996.
In Chile’s police force he is often assigned jobs that require liaising with Russians – such as helping a Russian Il-76 crew fight forest fires in the country earlier this year.
But the chance to watch La Roja play in beautiful stadiums around the country has made this job particularly fun.
“I think thanks to the security service, the organization here is at the top level,” says Montero Zunigo, adding that Chile’s fans have not had problems with visas or dramatic encounters with locals.
But for all the childhood nostalgia, Montero Zuniga’s loyalties are not split.
“One thing I will note is that we, Chile, have one of the biggest supporter groups of all the teams here,” he boasts.