In this series, we take a look at some of the most interesting young talents in the world of football. Next up is Deportes Tolima’s 20-year-old Colombian attacking midfielder Jaminton Campaz.

While Argentina and Brazil dominate much of the focus when it comes to South American football, there are fantastic young talents all over the continent. Arguably one of the most exciting players outside of the big two is 20-year-old Colombian Jaminton Campaz.

Though football in Colombia has been disrupted by the Covid pandemic and, more recently, the government’s heavy-handed repression over protests, Campaz has consistently been one of the league’s top performers over the last two years.

The attacking midfielder has 4 goals and 2 assists in 15 games as Deportes Tolima vie for the Apertura title, while also contributing another 2 goals in 6 games in the Copa Sudamericana.

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Born in Chontal, close to the port city of Tumaco in the southwestern Pacific lowlands near the border with Ecuador, Campaz grew up in one of the most dangerous regions of the country, with a murder rate four times higher than the rest of Colombia. As a youngster, he developed his skills on jungle-fringed beaches and used to help the family earn money by fishing and collecting pianguas – a type of mollusk typical of the region.

Fearing the rising violence associated with crime in the region, Campaz moved away at the age of 10 and had trials at various clubs, before settling in Ibagué where his brother Mike was on the books of Tolima.

His initial breakthrough would come at international for the Colombia U17s. Campaz played nine times and scored three goals while playing mainly as a winger or full-back as Los Cafateros qualified for the U17 World Cup in India later in 2017.

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