César Farías, technical director of the Bolivian National Team, gave an interview to the FIFA website, in which he spoke, among other topics, about the matches that he will face at the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.
The Venezuelan coach referred to the clashes against Brazil, away, and Argentina, at home, with which Bolivia will begin its way to the world championship. According to Conmebol, these matches will be played in October.
Although he indicated that the ideal would have been to train for two months, he pointed out that starting work “in ten days” will allow “doing something important” for the October matches.
This is the full interview released by FIFA:
From a professional standpoint, how have you lived with the pandemic?
Confinement allowed us to continue growing. We work a lot, researching, exchanging knowledge with colleagues, chatting daily with the footballers. We took advantage of the time, it was like an intensive course for a high-level coach.
What do you talk about with your players?
Great teams always had a strong intimacy. You speak with world champions like Nery Pumpido, or with World Cup coaches, such as Xabier Azkargorta and Francisco Maturana, and they agree that the management of human capital is essential. So, we seek to establish a common language, with values and principles that give us a collective strength.
What working guidelines have you established with them, and how?
Physically they have a personal plan, since each one does it in a different area, and we correct it almost daily. Tactically, we look for what virtual teaching methods work, and then adapt them to our needs, giving them concepts by repetition, by auditory and visual sequences, verbalized, written … We appeal to neuroscience exercises, questionnaires … Everything that is within our reach.
Can you give us an example?
In an exercise we give them a burst of jigsaw-like photos, jumbled, so they can put it together correctly. Thus we seek to assimilate defensive concepts, such as scoring with three or four, near the area or in the middle, offensive concepts such as the advance in triangle or the openings of the game that we intend, or situations that occur on both fronts, such as the balls stopped.
Not afraid of over information?
Not if you use it well. We have almost done a coaching course for the players. They should know that a match has 120 interruptions, that in Russia 45% of goals came from set-pieces or that the replacement of a corner takes about 24 seconds. They must assimilate the data and take advantage of it.
And the same goes for us. We studied Romania’s golden generation and how they qualified for three World Cups; how Iran did, which initially used local players; even the process of the world champion France… We are taking data to profile them with our footballers.
In his previous processes, he promoted several youths. After the good performance of the Bolivian under-23 in the last Pre-Olympic, what role will the youngsters play in the major?
They are and will be an important part of the training. It is not a question of courage, but of having reasons: their benefits in terms of their mobility are very high, if they repeat that performance in La Paz, it will be difficult for anyone to take something from here.
Who would you highlight?
Víctor Ábrego shone: he played three games and scored two goals against Brazil and one against Uruguay. Henry Vaca, their captain, is a left-handed hitch that goes all over the court. Sebastián Reyes has been a very prominent center-back. And Roberto Carlos Fernández, both as a winger and as a midfielder, has quality for the European first division. We trust them.
Do you support the idea of having a team to play at home and another for away?
We don’t believe in a defined system, but in the past, with Venezuela, it gave us results. In the tie for Brazil, with two teams we got four points against Bolivia, we beat Argentina, we tied in Colombia and Uruguay. And we believe in both internal competition and that the largest army beats the smallest.
In addition, post-pandemic it will be another football, it will not have the same dynamic. There will be some fear of contagion, of tests, of getting on a plane and traveling to a foreign country. We will have to learn to live with that, and we will need many players.
Are you worried that you received permission to start training just now?
The forecast was to start two months before because 90% of the players are from the local level, and the objective was to turn that ‘weakness’ into strength. Starting in 10 days, we are within the set times to do something important. It was key because there are rivals who have been practicing for 3 months, official matches … And we started with Brazil and Argentina.
What’s good and what’s bad about that start?
There is nothing wrong if we can start preparing now. Facing Messi and Neymar in four days is a privilege. But I don’t want to take a photo with them, I want to beat them! No one can take away that illusion.
How do you see the overall playoff landscape?
Today I do not see any team that has stood out, we are all in training. In this context, Bolivia has other possibilities. But the South American tie is a difficult university, especially for the smaller countries. We will have 18 different challenges, we will not be able to relax.
Finally, how do you approach this third tie of your career?
When I started I was the newest, and I faced coaches like Bielsa, Sabella, Tabárez, Pekerman, Bolillo Gómez, Markarian … Today I already have almost 100 matches of the senior team, and except for Tabárez or Rueda, none surpasses me in games by qualifiers in South America. Maybe I am younger than others, but I have already been here and I want to contribute all my experience to the Bolivian team.