by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 6th 2014)
Honduras’ coach Luís Fernando Suárez is one of the three Colombian coaches going to the World Cup. Two kind of swapped jobs. Eight years ago Suárez took Ecuador to the World Cup. They were beaten by England. Honduras were coached and developed by another Colombian going to the World Cup, Reinaldo Rueda.
Suárez, like Rueda doesn’t believe that there is an intrinsic South American or Central American style. “There is no central American style”, Suárez said. “Being Colombian has nothing to do with it. I respect all the type of football the Hondurans play. It is fast and strong, but there is not a specific style of football in Central America. The Colombian coaches have not changed the way they play – only implemented our tactics. That’s the way we Colombian coaches work – with tactics”.
If this is true, then its hard to see what Roy Hodgson and England will learn regarding Costa Rica from playing Honduras, even though the Hondurans are up for the match.
Suárez was keen to give credit where its due for the rise of Honduran football. “All the credit for where Honduras is now does not belong to me”, he said modestly. “I only followed what Rueda did four years ago. When I came to Honduras Rueda gave me the benefit of his experience. We talked about how to treat the players. Before I took charge of the team I learned about the culture and the country to make it easier for me to transmit my knowledge that worked in the past in Ecuador to the players”.
Despite Rueda’s advice and assistance Suárez had to put his own stamp on the team. “When I took over the team, the first official competition was to qualify for the World Cup”, Suárez said. “I found out that the only thing my players wanted to do was to qualify for the World Cup. The history of Ecuador and Honduras is the same because in 2006 Ecuador’s aim was to qualify for the next round and it’s the same for Honduras”.
Suárez has plans. “Honduras has never reached the second round”, he said, “but with my experience of 2006 I will try to implement it with this squad to try to reach the next round”. However, there is an obstacle – a familiar one. Just as he knows Ecuador from eight years ago their current coach knows Honduras. In fact, Rueda built the foundations that Suárez built upon.
They will meet in the World Cupat Curitiba on June 20th. It doesn’t phase Suárez. “Rueda is a nice man”, he said, “but it’s just another football match”. However, he added a proviso. “I think this is the best Ecuador side I have seen”.