- FIFA.com speaks completely with Armenia coach Joaquin Caparros
- His facet have begun Qatar 2022 qualifying with three straight wins
- “We’ve started well, but we’re keeping our feet on the ground,” he says
When Joaquin Caparros was appointed Sevilla coach again in 2000, he might by no means have guessed the place he could be teaching 21 years later.
From then till 2005, he grew to become an idol at the Andalusian membership, contributing to the growth and consolidation of future stars like Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, Jose Antonio Reyes and Dani Alves. After taking cost of a wide range of golf equipment in Spain, Switzerland and even Qatar, he returned to Sevilla in 2018, the place he had two quick spells as interim coach interspersed with a interval as the membership’s director of soccer. Then in early 2020, he received a name from Gines Melendez that will change every little thing.
The veteran coach, who had loved nice success whereas in cost of Spain’s youth groups, was the one who sought out Caparros to supply him the Armenia job, having himself being appointed technical director of soccer at the nation’s soccer affiliation the earlier 12 months. Now in want of a coach for the nationwide group, he knew immediately that Joaquin was his man.
“They want to develop, and they know that this depends on the credentials of the coaches they have. They’re doing great and we’re seeing results that give credence to the president and everyone involved. It’s the path we have to follow,” Caparros tells FIFA.com when requested about the change in Armenian soccer.
“I still had time on my contract with Sevilla, but Gines Melendez told me about the Armenia opportunity, so I met him and the president of the national federation. There was a good feeling and a sense of empathy, so we hit it off and came to an agreement quite quickly. They trust us and there’s very smooth communication,” Caparros says of the resolution to embark on this journey.
Since then, the mutual affection between Caparros and Armenia has solely deepened, helped by a dream begin for the coach. “Getting promoted to UEFA Nations League B was reward for the work being done, but it was also unexpected because we were competing against quality teams like Georgia and North Macedonia. It was a success and provided a major morale boost for the country and the squad. It reaffirmed that Armenia must have faith in the work being done,” stated the former coach of Athletic Bilbao, Deportivo La Coruna and Mallorca, amongst others.
That promotion was the absolute best prelude to the European qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, in which Armenia have made an ideal begin, successful their opening three video games in the final week of March to steer Group J.
“We’ve begun the qualifiers with a lot of enthusiasm but remain conscious of how tough our group is. We’ve started well, but we’re keeping our feet on the ground. We’re in with teams like Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, and especially Germany, which are very strong. That’s where we find ourselves, but we’re hopeful and excited, and no one can take that away from us,” Caparros says.
The 65-12 months-outdated is aware of it’s a time for calm heads, particularly once you look again at what has occurred thus far in the evenly matched Group J. “Being in a group that throws up crazy results is good for us, but we know it’ll still be very difficult. We’re talking about teams with a lot of [good] players and a great deal of history, like Germany, who are always favourites.”
However, when requested about particular aims, Caparros shouldn’t be ready to look past September. “We have to take it one game at a time and see how far we can go. We’re not playing again [in the qualifiers] until September, so we’ll see how the players are doing. We’re relying on our strength as a team as well as mental fortitude.”
And whereas he has solely been in cost of Armenia for ten video games, the Spanish coach has hit it off rather well in the jap European nation. “From the start, everyone’s been empathetic, from the president down to the coaching staff. It’s a joy to go to team gatherings and be with the lads, because they’re so committed.”
Caparros has solely good issues to say about his day-to-day work with the nationwide group. “We have an amazing academy. There are ten football pitches here, all maintained superbly, and a residential building with luxury rooms. Everything you need… We’re very comfortable,” he says.
But certainly for a Spanish coach in Armenia, the language barrier is an issue? “Within the squad we speak four languages: Russian, Armenian, English and Spanish,” Caparros tells FIFA.com, insisting it has not been a difficulty: “There’s very fluid communication, and furthermore football is a universal language. When the whistle blows, everyone understands each other. This non-verbal communication has been fundamental.”
We completed by asking this native Andalusian what it might imply for Armenia to succeed in a significant event like the EURO or World Cup. “Just winning promotion in the Nations League was very emotional, so I can only imagine what it would be like… However, I’ve not even thought about it. I’ve been in football for many years, so I know we have to take it one step at a time. So let the people of Armenia enjoy the victories, and let us focus on our working methods,” he concludes.
Caparros is clearly pleased with this Armenia group and the work they have done, so it is going to be fascinating to see simply how far they will go collectively.
The variety of video games that Armenia have gone undefeated since their 2-1 reverse to North Macedonia in September 2020. That fixture got here in the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League, in which Armenia gained promotion to League B.