Lithuania 2021 – Guatemala

  • Guatemala hosts Concacaf qualifiers for Lithuania 2021
  • The competition takes place May 3-9.
  • “We are aiming for the final,” said Estuardo de León, Guatemala coach

In his youth, Estuardo de León had the choice between two paths of life, in the disreputable Zona 18 of Ciudad de Guatemala. The first, that of ease, was synonymous with drugs, violence and easy money. But money was not flowing at home.

The second was a much more uncertain, long-term life project with no guaranteed money. This is the one he chose. “Football has helped me a lot to get ahead. My neighborhood was a place, like there are many in the world, where it was easier to fall into drugs and delinquency than to make a career in sport, whatever it is. Fortunately, I lived very close to the football fields “, he says in an exclusive interview with

The desire to break into the world of futsal and to represent Guatemala on the court has led him to make great sacrifices. “In 1998, we saw a few private futsal pitches appear and in 2000 ‘Profe’ Ferretti called me to try out for the World Cup organized here.”

“But I stopped playing for a month because they were trying too many players. And I was studying for a license in sports and wanted to finish my studies on time so I stopped training. But I discussed. with ‘Profe’ Ferretti and he told me that I had a good chance of being selected. And that’s when I got really passionate about this discipline. “

The sacrifices did not end there. “I have always worked alongside my playing career. In 2000, training was in the evening. I did lessons from 7 am to 3 pm then I went to the field to wait for training time. My daily life was hectic. through study, work and training. “

“In 2008, I made a lot of sacrifices. I did a session in the gym from 5 am to 6 am. Then I went to work in a college from 7 am to 1 pm. From there, I went to another college to train. young children from 2 pm to 4 pm And I also coached a futsal team in the lower division, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm And finally, I trained with the selection from 8 pm to 10 pm It lasted all year round 2008, the only year we managed to make it through the first round at the World Cup. “

Solomon Islands v Guatemala: Group F - FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012
© Getty Images

He then became an executive and the captain of a selection that quickly began to make talk about her. Before hosting the World Cup in 2008, Guatemala had never participated in the supreme futsal event. Since then, he has only missed one edition and remains on three consecutive participations.

“I believe that we have experienced fairly rapid and very positive progress. We were fortunate to be led by two great coaches. In 2000, we had Fernando Ferretti, a Brazilian coach who is highly regarded in the discipline. He taught us a lot of things, “he says.

“In 2003 he was replaced by Venancio López, a Spanish coach with a lot of experience in international futsal. It was also useful to us as we rubbed shoulders with top teams like Brazil, Spain and clubs from their respective championships… “

Selector, the logical continuation

Today Estuardo de León no longer plays, but he certainly hasn’t severed his passionate bond with futsal. The next step was naturally to take the reins of a national team that he knows perfectly well with a view to qualifying for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021, organized by Guatemala.

“I think Guatemala is in good shape. As in the last qualifying, I believe my team is very well placed to make another World Cup. I also believe they can play in the grand final of qualifying and win it. . “

For his first big challenge as a coach, he will put all his experience at the service of his players:

“During my playing career, I made a lot of mistakes, mistakes that I can foresee today. Suddenly, I can warn my players. My experience also allows me to anticipate certain situations and to orient the matches as we wish. “

Everything is in place for the Guatemalans to seek their qualification and make history. Two coaches have already left their mark in Guatemalan futsal. Today Estuardo de León also intends to write his name in the guestbook. With the particularity of being a pure product of the land, streets and neighborhoods of Guatemala, a man intimately attached to the colors of his country.

“I am driven by the desire to be remembered. We are preparing for that. We will see how the competition goes, but we will try to make history. To win our qualification, to have our best World Cup and to pass the first round. The prospect of bringing our contribution to Guatemalan sport is very motivating. “

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