Q & A: Ecuador's Hernan Dario Gomez
Posted: Tuesday April 23, 2002 4:12 PM
do you think about the draw?
At least we don't have to dance with the ugliest. We're not in the
group of death. But we have a rousing challenge against powerful
rivals. It's going to be very difficult, but I'm happy to take on
genuine world powers. Italy and Croatia are among the favorites,
and Mexico have been to so many World Cups. So in terms of history
we're fourth in the group, but we have faith.
your team be overawed by playing in their first World Cup?
They have learnt to cope with pressure and responsibility. I was
struck by how calm they were when we needed a point against Uruguay.
far can Ecuador go in this World Cup?
It's important that the public are aware that Ecuador are going
to the World Cup to learn. It's a lesson I learnt with Colombia
in 1994 (he was assistant coach), when the team went to the World
Cup with a head full of dreams. They were soon back home facing
all the criticisms after being knocked out in the first round.
are your key players?
Agustin Delgado for his goalscoring, Alex Aguinaga for his talent,
Ulises De la Cruz carrying out a vital double role, Ivan Hurtado's
leadership. We're a bit like Colombia -- we may not have the strength
in depth of Brazil or Argentina, but there is a lot of talent.
have put a lot of importance on team spirit.
It's excellent that they all get on so well. We have a solid group
who, bit by bit, have become a family. By nature Ecuadoreans are
loyal and honest, and these characteristics come through in our
team. We made a point of educating the players to help them realize
the importance of their profession. We had to first unite ourselves
in order to then unite the country.
do you need to improve?
We're still inconsistent. We lack maturity at times, though we're
are playing a lot of preparation games. Is
there much value in these friendlies?
The games are good for making the team more mature. All these journeys,
the time stuck in hotels and the sacrifices can be tiring, but it's
helping us grow as an international team.
important was Ecuador's first full international in Europe?
I told the players that the game against Turkey was the opening
game of the World Cup. And the 1-0 win was the most important triumph
of my career.
were shot last year after getting mixed up in a political row. But
it doesn't seem to have made you bitter.
Ecuador has given me a great deal. I'm very happy here, and I believe
that I've become not only a better coach, but also a better person.
I wasn't sure about it when I arrived. I found the country divided
and full of problems, and I wanted to go back to Colombia. But I
stayed, and I ended up getting to know a people who are honest and
full of solidarity.
From World Soccer magazine.