La Dolfina is undergoing its most challenging season since the arrival of Milo Fernández Araujo in 2013. When the former Indios Chapaleufú II player took over, the Cañuelas team became the organisation that everyone hoped they would become: dominant, convincing, efficient, relentless. There is not enough time in the day to mention everything Adolfo Cambiaso, Pelon Stirling, Pablo Mac Donough and Juan Martín Nero have accomplished over the past six years.
Milo was the one that insisted they should go out and win every tournament they played, and thus their first title came in 2013 with the Tortugas Open, a tournament La Dolfina had not won since they began competing in the Argentine high goal in 2000. Then came the three consecutive Triple Crown titles, the five consecutive Argentine Open victories, and so much more.
But today Ellerstina’s threat to La Dolfina’s winning streak is stronger than ever. However, the Pieres last won Palermo in 2012, and while it is true that they were close last year, it is also certain that La Dolfina have always risen when challenged and emerged victorious.
While La Dolfina have continued to dominate the season, their level of play is not the same as it has been before, nor is the force behind it, even if they have been truly effective. Talking about the teams’s current situation, Milo shares: “I think their performance has to do with many factors. I think that we had a lot of great years, and that does get into your head, unconsciously. We need to work on our state of mind, that is the secret. It’s nothing to do with the broken field, or the heavy ball, we just need to get our head in gear and know that we are the best and biggest team in the Open, in terms of players, but also in terms of age.”
He continues: “I think that in these last two weeks we have to work on our mental state, and we can do it. We have the polo, the goals, we just have to change our attitude and that’s it.”
It will certainly be odd not seeing Fernández Araujo in La Dolfina’s pony lines as coach in 2019; at the beginning of the season he announced that this would be his last Triple Crown with La Dolfina, and so far we have reason to believe that this decision will stand after the Open final on December 15. Milo has been the perfect match for this organisation, and he has left an indelible mark on what it means to be a polo coach. “My life changed when I became La Dolfina’s coach,” says Fernández Araujo. “I was given the chance to work alongside four legends. I think we helped each other out; I helped them because they were four legends who didn’t know how to make it work, but I didn’t actually do that much. They were not doing much, and with just a little push, they became what they are.”
“They really helped me out, because when you reach 9 or 10-goals and then retire, you’re left with an enormous void,” he concludes. “They have given me six incredible years.”