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Der 3fache argentinische Weltmeister-Coach...

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Jose Pekerman, der argentinische Nachwuchscoach, der die argentinische U20 bei den letzten 4 U20-Weltmeisterschaften zu 3 Titeln(!!!) führte in einem interessanten Interview !!! (leider nur auf englisch :D:smoke:) - Er ist der "Mentor u. Starcoach des argentinischen Jugendfußballs :super: - hoffe er wird einmal eine europäische Spitzenmannschaft oder eine argentinische A-WM Auswahl trainieren :yes::super:

FIFA World Youth Championship UAE 2003

José Pekerman: Just like the real thing

Jose Pekerman, head coach of the Argentina National soccer teams, answers questions at the sqaud's camp January 19. Argentina faces Peru January 20 in Group B of the Pre-Olympic tournament which qualifies two teams from south america for the Sydney 2000 Olympic games later this year.

For an expert preview of the forthcoming FIFA World Youth Championship United Arab Emirates 2003, who else could we turn to but the highest authority on youth football in the world? José Pekerman was the winning coach at no fewer than three of the last four FIFA World Youth Championships. Speaking exclusively to, he gives us an insight into the pressure facing the young pretenders to the world title, runs the rule over the pre-tournament favourites, and picks out a few of the stars he expects to shine in the UAE. What sort of competition can we look forward to in the United Arab Emirates?

José Pekerman: One that is no different from any other. The tendency over the years has been towards a levelling-out of standards, in tournaments where the status of favourite is no guarantee of success. Some of the so-called smaller nations will seize their chance to shine on the world stage - sides such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Colombia who have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and can now realistically challenge for the title. Paraguay too – all they have to do is transfer the success they have had back in South America onto the global stage.

Are you expecting any tactical evolution this time around or do you think there is little room for improvement in this respect?

With each passing tournament, the teams have progressed, to the point where they now resemble professional first division sides. The U-20 category no longer means the players are under age – this is just like a full international tournament. A 19-year-old is a mature footballer these days, and can already be a key member of a first division team.

Which sides stand out as favourites?

I would place them in different groups. There are the experienced sides, safe bets like Argentina and Brazil. Spain, after their success in Nigeria, are a good side too (ed. Spain won the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship). Then there are the up-and-coming teams, the Africans for example. Mexico are getting there, and European sides like England, the Czech Republic and Ireland can’t be written off. One thing I would say is that I think the Asian sides are slightly behind the rest. Having said that, with the tournament being held in Asia, one of their sides might use home advantage to cause an upset or two. No side should be underestimated. Just look at how well Egypt did at Argentina 2001.

Eingefügtes BildCaptain of the Argentine under-20 soccer team, Esteban Cambiasso ®, and coach Jose Pekerman hold up the trophy following their victory over Paraguay in the final match of the tournament, January 25. Argentine became the continent's champion for the third straight time and will compete along with Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay in the World Cup to be played later this year in Nigeria.

Who are the future stars of the competition?

If Spain pick Iniesta, he could show he has what it takes to be a big star – he already has for Barcelona. But we don’t know if he is going to play yet and the same can be said for the Brazilians, Robinho and Diego. If Robinho makes the trip he’ll be one to watch, as will the English boy, Rooney. And then there’s Cavenaghi who really looks the part; he could well be THE star of the competition.

The qualifying tournament in South America was a violent affair. How did things get out of hand?

The referees were young and inexperienced, which didn’t help. The competition format meant the teams had to play a lot of matches over a short period of time. Then there’s the question of preparation. As most of the youngsters are not yet in their clubs’ first teams, they are available for selection, and I won’t make myself any friends by saying this but some of them think they’re better prepared because they train with the pros, but they’re wrong. A lot of them spend their time warming the bench for their clubs and that means they lack match sharpness. They think they’re ready, and when they don’t perform as they’d like and begin to realise there are no easy games, they get frustrated and start mouthing off. Anyway that’s how things turned nasty and some paid for it by missing out on the Word Championship. It’s a shame – the quality of football suffers and the games are less spectacular as a result.

You won three of the last four FIFA World Youth Championships – a unique achievement. What’s the secret of your success at this level?

There are no secrets. Argentina set up a stable system for our various youth sides and implemented a plan to help us reach the top. From our U-15 side right through to the U-20s, our aim has been to put together a reservoir of players who are capable of becoming professional footballers. We have achieved that goal. And then there’s luck, which means you sometimes win a title and at other times fail. We have played some great sides and won. I remember the Spain team of 1995 in Qatar, which had players of the calibre of Raúl, Iván De la Peña, Fernando Morientes, and Salgado. We beat them 3-0. Brazil had Caio, Denilson, Emerson and we were too good for them too. Over the years, we have worked conscientiously, concentrating on organisation and quality. It’s all about preparing properly and having the right players at your disposal.

Which of your three titles did you most enjoy winning?

I enjoyed each one for different reasons. Qatar 1995 paved the way and made us believe in ourselves. At Malaysia 1997 we managed to confirm our superiority whilst playing great football. And we were under a lot of pressure too - that was the year Pablo Aimar, Juan Riquelme, Walter Samuel, Esteban Cambiasso and others came on the scene. In 2001, we were playing at home in Argentina so we were expected to do well. It meant we had more responsibility. Everybody wanted us to win: the politicians, people in other sports or from other walks of life, and the event organisers of course, who want to show they are capable of bringing something off. But our team was just brilliant. The stats speak for themselves: we scored more goals than any other team, we had the top goalscorer, the best goalkeeper, won all our games and picked up the Fair Play trophy for good measure. We came up against some good teams too.

Is it really a problem to have so many good players to choose from?

No, I wouldn’t say that. On the contrary, a coach wants to work with the best players. The real challenge is to bring all the players to their peak at the right time. Brazil managed it last year in Asia and so they won. Argentina were impressive in the qualifiers but had nothing left when it came to the crunch. That’s the very essence of football. But you have to remember one thing: great players don’t just appear by magic, they have to be nurtured, motivated and reap the benefits of sound organisation.

Of all the players you have coached, was there one who was a bit special?

Players are all different. People tend to ignore very special guys like Samuel and just concentrate on the great number 10s. But when you think about it, it’s difficult to lose when Samuel is playing, isn’t it? If you wanted to build a team he should be the cornerstone. Then if you want to thrills and spills to entertain the fans a little, why not add Denilson, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Aimar, Riquelme, Raúl and Zidane.

You gave Samuel, Aimar, Riquelme, Juan Sorín and Cambiasso their chance when they were very young. How do you feel now when you see them play for the national side?

Immensely proud. I took Cambiasso and Aimar to an U-17 tournament in South America when they were much younger than most of the other players. It cost us the title but we had no regrets. We try to practise what FIFA preaches, that is, give young talent the chance to express itself and promote football worldwide. Sadly, certain teams only see the short-term picture and falsify the age of certain players whose physique can make all the difference at that level. We would prefer not to win at U-17 level and push through talent like Cambiasso or Aimar. In the long run, it helps us at U-20 level and it also helps the professional clubs. We have to perpetuate this idea in Argentina and develop it in those countries who are lagging behind in this respect.

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