The Ecuadorian Football Federation (EFF) has paid tribute to the late forward Christian "Chucho" Benitez by retiring his No.11 jersey number from the national team's uniform. Chucho died suddenly Monday at the age of 27.
"The coaching team (and) the federation decided to retire Chucho Benitez's number 11 jersey during these qualification matches (for the 2014 Brazil World Cup)," said EFF president Luis Chiriboga Thursday, reports Xinhua.
"He will be present in each of the players, but the '11' will be set aside in memory of Christian Benitez," Chiriboga added.
Benitez, 27, was one of the top players in the history of Ecuadorian football, scoring 24 goals for the national team.
"Chucho" played for the Ecuadorian club El Nacional and Mexico's Santos Laguna and America teams, where he spent most of his career.
He also played for England's Birmingham City and most recently for the Qatari club Al-Jaish, with whom he played for the first time only last Sunday, a day before his unexpected death.
Benitez had just been transferred to the Qatari team from America, the Mexican team which he helped to win national champion last season.