Claudio UBEDA commented on this generation of players, the crisis at the youth level, the U20 World Cup and more.
In an extensive interview with Ole Clarin, Claudio UBEDA spoke about the crisis that is youth Argentine football, whether he will remain coach of the U20 team and it makes for a very interesting read. Here’s what he had to say:
About eliminating Brazil:
Is your heart still hurting like it was after the match ended between Brazil and Colombia?
“My heart ached! The truth is I suffered a lot, I know that my family suffered a lot because they lived everything that was going on around us. Because they hear stuff, because I have kids who are adolescents and it hurts us all when you’re criticized and people don’t know you.”
Do you have a special feeling inside having left Brazil out of the World Cup?
“Yes, the truth is I do. Yes because the match we played against Brazil, we deserved to win. And a few of the Brazilian players ribbed some of our players after the 2-2 draw. And also Argentina vs. Brazil is a clasico and is special. Furthermore because a giant (team) is not at the World Cup and that’s not something small.”
Regarding his job as coach:
It’s been 120 days since you’ve taken over as coach. Are things going your way?
“The most important thing is we have managed to qualify for the World Cup. That was the first step we had to take in what has been a very short period of time working. I have to mention that because Uruguay, who won the tournament, have COITO as a coach and he has been there for more than four years working with the U15 and U17 teams. DUDAMEL in Venezuela is also their senior team coach but has been working with this U20 team for 18 months. There are a few National Team’s like that as well. The only team who had less time than us working together was Bolivia. I think when it comes to youth teams, it’s fundamental to work together for a long time. Miracles don’t happen overnight.”
You didn’t arrive to the Sudamericano in good shape. What do you have to do well in order to arrive in better shape for the World Cup?
“It’s in May… Maybe we have a lot of time, we have to keep training a lot, we have to play more friendly matches in order for the players to get more comfortable because there’s a lot of players who are in the reserves. Some play a lot and others don’t. It’s not the same to play a practice behind closed doors than it is to play a friendly match.”
Coaching at the World Cup:
Do you see yourself coaching the team in South Korea or do you have doubts?
“Today, I am the coach of the National Team and I have a contract until October 2017. And my goal is to coach the team at the World Cup. In the little time we’ve been together, we’ve been very serious and very responsible, dedicated. I want to stay, I want to coach at the World Cup because I know how much reaching it has cost us and we deserve the opportunity.”
If it would be a mistake to change coaches:
“It’s difficult for me to answer because I’m in the middle of it all. But when a coaching decision is made, especially regarding youth teams, you have to take it seriously, to help shape players for the senior team, you have to support the project. The goal, aside from just qualifying for the World Cup, is that in a short time, players like Lautaro MARTINEZ, FOYTH and others can be part of the senior team.”
Projects at youth level:
Stability must be brought to the projects:
“Clearly, yes. For that, there must be continuity in the work being done and the examples are clear: PEKERMAN is the best example of what we should have and that’s what Uruguay, Germany, Venezuela and others copied.”
Germany did just that and are world champions at senior level:
“Exactly. Even more, two nights ago at the hotel I spoke with the Germany U20 coaches, they were in Quito to watch the rivals for the World Cup and also to see how the South American players trained. We have to learn to keep growing and learning. Not only the players but also the coaches and managers. You have to keep evolving.”
Crisis of Argentine football:
How do you stop the crisis at youth levels, the crisis which hasn’t stopped since TOCALLI left in 2007?
“Time is what is needed. You can’t make miracles overnight. The fact that Venezuela is as equal to Argentina is because they’ve put in place a project. There are many teams which have evolved in South America because they put in the work throughout the years. And in Argentina they think that after the PEKERMAN era, you would just pick the players and they would compete but it’s not like that.”
“We believed that just because we are Argentine’s we were going to keep having the best players and that’s it. But that’s a big mistake. You have to work. During the chats with the players, we tell the kids to keep in mind the history behind the shirt, that we have to remember the 1986 generation who knew how to wear the shirt. And also this generation, with MESSI and MASCHERANO, who know how to wear the shirt.”
It gets repeated that Argentina just have immense talent but the results at the youth level don’t show that
“Chickens don’t lay golden eggs, that’s the problem. There are times where you get CAMBIASSO, MILITO, RIQUELME, SORIN. But there are times where generations just don’t shine.”