-Cristal works very well with minors. Is your methodology a model to follow in Peru?
I returned to Cristal, to the Under 18s, in 2014 and within one of the motivations, when I spoke to the managers at that time, was that the project in three or four years should include that the starting team be 60 or 70 percent of the quarry. It has always been wanted to be different from a club because of how many players are youth players. Today, you see the Cristal lineups and five or six are from the school, from the grassroots.
-How did you take on the challenge of directing the Sub 17?
I had a couple of occasions to arrive earlier. When Daniel Ahmed was there we met. We had been co-workers at Sporting Cristal, I was his assistant. So when he was head of the technical unit we met, but it didn’t happen due to contract issues. Later, I had a conversation with Ernesto Arakaki, but due to a specific issue it could not be given. This time it was the third time and as they say “the third time is the charm”. I was very excited to be here, the only possibility that I could move to work with minors had to be with a national team. My process during all the years as a coach, where I have done the best, was with boys of these ages. I had the step in the first division, but time told me that this is my place and it is where I can put much more of what I learn. That was the first thing that led me to a first conversation with Juan Reynoso about being part of the project. Later I spoke with Chemo Del Solar.
-Is the same work methodology sought in all the teams, also including the same game idea?
There is an idea in which we agree with Juan and Chemo and it is related to the game. That is important because if I had another line, they would not have spoken to me, so within that game idea there are details that each one takes in different ways and we notice it on a day-to-day basis. The good thing is also that there is a good arrival, we get the best and what we transfer to the boys is a single message. Juan also has a methodologist who knows a lot, they are very aware of what the minor teams are and we support each other.
-What conclusions do you draw from the friendlies?
Although it is true, we have had games with different teams from Lima, almost two years older than the boys from the Under 17s, the best cap was the trip with Colombia and Ecuador. Colombia will surely be one of the teams that reaches the finals in the South American. It is a powerful team, very light, with very fast guys and for us it has been an exact measurement to see where we can improve and even so we have been able to compete, which is what we want. Within that competition you can obtain any of these three results: the first we draw; the second we were winning and the referee gave an additional 12 minutes and at minute 100 they tied us. That is where we have to reinforce the positive things and where we have to improve.
-What do you think of the performance of Durand, Eizele and Barbosa, the ‘foreigners’ who joined the Sub 17?
We have been able to notice that that competition that they have outside also serves them well. Against Colombia we saw that they had very good responses. That leads us to continue on that path. There are a number of Peruvians abroad that even surprised me. Today with this network thing there is more exposure. Someone comes and tells you that he has his son in another country and so on. A follow-up is being done, trying to also have a comparison with what we have because everything that is outside is good, but there are a large number of boys, not only for this category, but for the Sub 20. Catriel Cabellos, Gonzalo appeared Aguirre and so other boys. We have to take advantage of them because they have given very good answers.
-He was in Spain. Diego Kochen and Aitor Aranguren from Alavés play there. Is it in your plans for them to join the Sub 17?
We within the scouting area have to see the players, who are or are not at the level. In any case, the vision of all the technicians is agreed. Enter Chemo del Solar, Carlos Fernández, the Chemo work group… and we are seeing what conditions these guys have. In Spain, of the two you’ve mentioned, there’s material here by them, of course, and up to five or six other guys. Right now, due to the issue that we already have to deal with in the South American Championship, these days it will not be possible, but whatever comes the World Cup tournament, which is a much wider margin, surely they will have their chances. .
-The Peruvian team has done badly in the last editions of the South American, how to deal with that backpack?
What we want is to make the boys competitive and here in Videna it has been a surprise to find so many means to seek improvements in them in all areas such as medicine, nutrition and physique. An effort has been made to bring in a specific Uruguayan physical trainer for these categories to gain physical performance in the entire subject. The boys, for example, are working intensely for almost 20 days, 14 of which were double shifts; and they are staying to have a good diet, good implements and a good rest. We can do a strong, adequate training and then they have three hours to get home and some may not have the correct diet. A great effort is being made, all led to them internalizing that it is the best and with that they can compete, each one with their qualities, but what we are looking for is competition.
Is psychology important to you?
Of course. In the area of psychology, Dr. Marcelo Márquez, who is from the first team, is with us for several days, together with Marco, who is our psychologist. There is that support for the boys, so that they don’t have that burden, but rather go to compete and surely we can obtain good results.
-What is Chemo’s plan with the coaches of the minor teams: win a tournament or train the players well?
A little of everything. The diversity that there is now of so many Peruvians around the world gives that possibility to boys who have Peruvian roots but left the country for different reasons. They have had the journey of another experience, not only in the football field, but cultural and social. We are in that search. Another of the objectives, of course, is that we continue giving all the tools to the players because here we agree that the growth of a youth player must occur in the club, not the national team; the selection is to choose the best, but within that choice, we believe that those who are chosen must be repowered. So the club will benefit. We want that feedback so that the boys improve and at a given moment are important to their clubs and senior team.
-And on a personal level, what is your biggest challenge with the Sub 17?
What I want is for the Under 17 boys to feel that they can compete, for them to feel that they can be at the level of the other teams, as has happened with Colombia, a team that has been working with players for a long time. The vast majority will surely be in the senior team, but what is sought is for them to be competitive and that competition that we are having is transferred to what is to come.
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