Jorge Luis Pinto Afanador is a Colombian football trainer, and current executive of the Honduras national football team he was born in born 16 December 1952. Pintos handled numerous groups in Colombia.
Some disasters offer legitimate chances for revitalization, which is accurately how veteran Colombian trainer Jorge Luis Pinto is looking at his continuing assignment with Honduras. Los Catrachos’ disenchanting showing at 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup exposed their faults and the scale of the task he faces in turning their luck around.
Now ten months into his occupancy, the 62-year-old Pinto shared his thoughts and plans in an interview with FIFA.com. “Transitions from one generation to the next are always painful, but it’s allowed me to look for a fresh style for Honduras,” he said, getting straight to the point and identifying his primary challenge.
Honduras enjoyed extraordinary achievement in the time between 2009 and 2014, succeeded in the FIFA World Cup™ two times in a row for the first time in the country’s history and doing so openly, without having to go through the international play-offs. Although capable, the generation that achieved that feat went to Brazil 2014 as the second-oldest squad in the competition, with an average age of 28.56. And after La H went tumbling out in the group phase, the time had come for a generational handover.
Pinto discerned as much when he signed the contract that made him national team coach, making that handover his number one priority: “We analyzed the team’s recent past and realized that was the course we needed to take. We had no option,” he said. “That’s just the way things are, and the idea is for the team to pick gradually up the concepts they need so that there’s no vacuum and no shortfall regarding experience.”
That process of change is already under way. Of the 23 players called up by Pinto for the friendlies against Ecuador and Venezuela a few days ago, only seven are survivors from the squad that contested last year’s world finals.
“There’s a new generation of talented young players coming through,” commented Pinto. “Some of them already have experience of playing abroad and have had a taste of international football, which is imperative in my eyes. It’s something we can work with.”
A Results Business
The conversion is showing anything but easy, however, as current results revealed. Since their elimination at Brazil 2014, Honduras have lost 11 of the 20 matches they have played, winning only five and drawing the remaining four. In the procedure, they finished a lowly fifth in last year’s Copa Centroamericana 2014 and were knocked out in the group phase of the new Gold Cup after losing to USA and Haiti and drawing with Panama.
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In spite of that short run of form, the trainer sees reasons to be hopeful. He explained
“Some games have been learning experiences and have been demanding for us, especially the ones with Brazil and Mexico, To my mind, the results in the Gold Cup don’t reflect how we played. We performed well, but we made some schoolboy errors. It hasn’t been easy, but my feeling is that one way or another, we’re doing fine.”
An excellent trainer of great experience and the man who took Costa Rica to the quarter-finals in Brazil last year, Pinto is conscious that it will take time for his message to get through and for the new Honduras to take shape. His object is visible, and he knows that it can only be gotten through hard work: as he said
“I want this team to do more with the ball, to play a faster game than they used to.”
A 3-0 defeat of Venezuela recommended that the wily Pinto might be on the right track. He surely believes so:
“The talent is there. All we need to do is work on it because these players can go far.”
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