- FIFA.com talks to Armenia manager Joaquin Caparros
- Armenia started World Cup qualifying with plenty of Group J wins
- “We started well, but we are keeping our feet on the ground”, underlines Caparros
Joaquin Caparros took charge of Sevilla FC in the early 2000s. Until 2005, he was an idol there, contributing to the emergence of players like Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, Jose Antonio Reyes and Dani Alves. After training in Spain, Switzerland and Qatar, in 2018 he made two short stints on the Sevilla bench, taking care of the club’s sporting direction at the same time, until a call from Gines Melendez.
The seasoned coach, known for achieving impressive results in the youth categories in Spain, has contacted Caparros to offer him the post of Armenia coach. Hired to restructure the Armenian federation, Melendez did not hesitate when he needed a technician to lead the national team.
“They want to develop and know that it depends on the coaching education they have. They are doing very well and the results so far give credibility to the president and everyone involved. That is the line that they are doing. we must follow “, assures Caparros, at the microphone of FIFA.com. “I was under contract with Sevilla when Melendez told me about this project. I first met the President of the Federation in Madrid. The process immediately passed. We reached an agreement quickly. trust us and communication is very fluid “
Keep believing it
Since then, the idyll between Caparros and Armenia has continued to grow, with beginnings in the form of a honeymoon. “Getting into League B of the UEFA Nations League was a reward for the work we did. It was also unexpected, because there were quality teams, like Georgia and North Macedonia . It was a success, which gave a lot of happiness to the country and to the whole group. It also shows that Armenia must believe in what it does “, explains the one who has coached, among others, Athletic Bilbao, La Coruña and Mallorca.
European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup ™ have started in a spectacular fashion for Armenia. During the first three days, she managed a clear round pocketing nine points out of nine possible, which places her today at the top of Group J. “We started these qualifications with a lot of enthusiasm, but we know that It’s a difficult group. Despite this good start, we are keeping our feet on the ground “, tempers Caparros. “Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia and especially Germany are very strong. But here we are, and no one can help but believe in it.”
Step by step
But despite this impressive start to qualifying, there is no question for Caparros to plan for the long term. “We will not play again before September in qualifying. We will then see how the players are. We have to be strong collectively and mentally”, warns the technician who, in just ten matches at the head of Armenia, has acclimated to his adopted country. “It is a pleasure to go to each training session and to be with the boys, because they are totally involved. We have an incredible training center, with 10 fields which are kept to perfection, a residence with rooms luxury. There is everything you need. We have the best possible conditions, “he explains.
Even the language barrier does not shower his enthusiasm. “We speak four languages within the team: Russian, Armenian, English and Spanish”, explains Caparros. “But communication is very fluid, and football is a universal language. When the ball starts to roll, everyone understands each other.”
The results are so convincing, that Armenia could start to dream of participating in a big tournament such as EURO or the World Cup. “It was very moving to move up a level in the League of Nations, so imagine what it would be …”, admits the Spaniard. “But I don’t even think about it. I’ve been in football for so many years that I know we have to take it step by step. The Armenian people can savor these victories, but we have to stay focused on the way we work.” , he concludes.
This is the number of games without defeat for Armenia since their loss (2-1) to North Macedonia in September 2020 in the UEFA Nations League, competition in which they were promoted to League B.