Founded by Sebastian de Belalcazar on 25 July 1536, Santiago de Cali is Colombia’s third most populous city and one of the oldest in South America. Situated in the south-west of the country, it is situated in the Pacific region and subsequently boasts a thriving economy, multi-ethnic population and great cultural diversity.
The city sits between the Central and Occidental mountain ranges and at the foot of the Farallones de Cali, a series of peaks that separates it from the Pacific Ocean. Covering an area of 564 square kilometres, it has a population of approximately 2,400,000 inhabitants.
Cali is the administrative capital of the Valle del Cauca department, a region that sits on the Pacific, the so-called 'sea of the future'. The city’s privileged location has allowed it to become a commercial hub, with most of Colombia’s imports from the powerful Asian and North America economies arriving through the seaport of Buenaventura.
Known nationally and internationally for its rich and varied agriculture, the Valle del Cauca is also home to the largest manufacturers and multinationals operating out of Colombia.
The people of Cali, known as caleños, are renowned across the world for their love of salsa, a musical genre originating in the Caribbean and adopted as a symbol of the city, hence its reputation as the world capital of salsa.
The people of Cali also love their sport. Not for nothing is it also known as Colombia’s sporting capital, having hosted a large number of both national and international events, among them the 1971 Pan American Games and the 2013 World Games.
Over the years Cali has also staged world championships in aquatics, basketball, track cycling, roller skating, wrestling, weightlifting, synchronised swimming and underwater rugby, not to mention the 2015 IAAF World Youth Championships. It was also one of the host cities for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011.
With average temperatures of around 26ºC, Cali is a place for getting out and about and enjoying the sights, which include the plaza de Caicedo, the hilltop district of San Antonio, the Belalcazar Monument – which provides fine views of the city – the Boulevard del Rio, La Ermita, the Parque del Gato del Rio, the city zoo, the Parque Artesanal Loma de la Cruz and the Municipal and Jorge Isaacs theatres.
Cali is home to Colombia’s two most successful clubs: Deportiva America and Deportivo Cali. The protagonists of one of the country’s biggest derby rivalries, the pair have won 22 league titles between them and have featured regularly on the international stage, finishing runners-up in the Copa Libertadores on six occasions in total.
The capital of Valle del Cauca has two teams in the Liga Argos Futsal: Club Deportivo Campaz and Deportivo Lyon. Campaz have been in existence since 28 February 2011, basing their development on the popularisation of futsal as well as a push to integrate the disabled via sporting activities. Liga Argos Futsal debutants in 2013, Campaz quickly displayed a determination to do themselves and the whole of Valle del Cauca proud.
As for Deportivo Lyon, they were founded in 2007 by a group of friends led by Diego Cordoba who regularly met up to play on artificial pitches and enjoyed a reputation locally for their ability. They are named after their main sponsor, the sports boutique Lyon – whose own moniker was inspired by the company owner's passion for the eponymous French football club. As soon as 'Deportivo Lyon' was suggested as a possible club name, the players openly expressed their enthusiasm.
Deportivo Lyon began the process of professionalisation in October 2010, with a view to participating in the 2011 edition of the Liga Argos Futsal. They still needed a coach, however, and Cordoba was able to lure Rulver Pulido, who boasted futsal experience after a spell in charge of Universidad del Valle. Lyon's rise to the top was complete when they won their maiden championship in the first part of 2011.