After his campaign at Boca Juniors and his non-renewal with the Argentine club, Gustavo Alfaro went unnoticed in terms of selections in the region. In the midst of a very big crisis within the Ecuadorian locker room, many criticisms and defeats that harmed the team that had the best start in the Qualifiers, the coach accepted the challenge of taking charge of the ‘Tri’ and putting it back on track.
Thus, in mid-August 2020, Alfaro was presented as the new coach of the neighboring team in his first experience managing a national team. The first objective: to seal the classification to Qatar 2022. For the remainder of the qualifiers, the Argentine knew how to rearm the team by bringing together experienced footballers and young promises.
The formula gave him results and he finished the qualifying rounds in fourth position in the table. Ecuador returned to a World Cup after his absence in Russia 2018. Enner Valencia and Pervis Estupiñan They were the ones called by the coach to lead this team that moved away from the controversies and internal conflicts and came consolidated to compete in Qatar 2022.
For Gustavo Alfaro, betting on a new generation of players did not mean a problem but a way to give them the opportunity and teach these soccer players how to play as a team. And without a doubt he did it, in the opening match against the hosts a great Ecuador returned the illusion to an entire country and also to the entire continent, winning 2-0.
But the road would not be so easy and they ran into the Netherlands in what could be the best World Cup match for Alfaro’s team. It was a highly contested match that ended in a tie but the whole world felt that Ecuador deserved to win, such was the impression that Van Gaal himself told Alfaro in private.
The coach said at the end of the match that he was very proud of his players for what they had done on the pitch. “I told them at the end of the first half, we lose because we are young, because we lack that maturity, that experience, because we were shocked by the result in Senegal before the game started and because we had a well-understood respect for the Netherlands.” He added that after the goal they were able to play the rival equally and that he did not care about the result but how they would play on the field and that they were recognized for it.
Alfaro’s words at a press conference and outside of it would be a constant reflection for everyone. His vision beyond football and putting the group above the beautiful game has been recognized in this World Cup. Among them the gesture of him defending moises caicedo before a question about the lack of human rights in Qatar by an international media. The coach did not hesitate to answer for his player who immediately looked to him for support and advice, an action that demonstrated the great influence he has in the locker room.
With a win and a draw, the game against Senegal was crucial to continue the race in this World Cup. Despite this, Alfaro was clear that when he said in the preview that the result does not determine everything for him: “I don’t like the discourse according to which if we qualify we are barbarians and if not everything we did is bad. For me, we did everything that Ecuador had to do. Hopefully tomorrow we will have football and the performance that will allow us to move forward. So far, we have accumulated the merits ”, sentenced.
Despite the efforts of the Ecuadorians and the brief tie, a 2-1 draw sealed the match and left Gustavo Alfaro’s team eliminated in the group stage, unable to match their best World Cup participation in 2006 where they reached the round of 16. Once the match was over, the Argentine was seen entering the pitch raising his players who were crying on the pitch in regret for the result, a gesture that once again showed what the coach means to these footballers.
Convinced of the work he has done, Gustavo Alfaro assured that Ecuador today has a young generation of players and that for him it is a team with more future than present, something that should be fought for. Already in the press room, he accepted that it has been a very hard blow for everyone and that it is details that ended up making the difference. As for his future, he did not want to reveal anything or make any decision. The truth is that despite the elimination, what Alfaro has achieved is noticeable and it would be a very good decision by the Federation to give him confidence once again and thus continue with the process with a view to the 2026 World Cup.
I have worked in the news industry for over 10 years. I have a keen interest in sports and have written for many different publications. I am currently working as an author at 24 News Recorder. I cover mostly sports news but also write about other topics such as current affairs and politics. I have a strong interest in social media and how it can be used to engage with audiences.