VISITING FC Barcelona coaches said their team’s recent failure in last year’s Uefa Champions League and the capitulation of Spain at the Brazil Fifa World Cup does not signal the end of possession football, otherwise known as tiki-taka, and have vowed not to be pressurised into abandoning their philosophy of playing football.
Isaac Orio Guerrero Hernandez and Daniel Bigas Alsina, the La Masia coaches, arrived in Harare yesterday aboard a private plane for a two-day coaching clinic with the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League coaches and their team captains.
La Masia is the famous Barcelona academy which has produced great players such as World Cup winning captain Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Thiago Motta, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and the great Lionel Messi.
Guerrero Hernandez and Alsina, who are La Masia’s head co-ordinator and project co-ordinator respectively, are in the country under the partnership between FC Barcelona and SABMiller, in which Castle Lager is the official beer brand for the former European champions.
Castle Lager are also the official sponsors of the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League.
The two are on a tour of Africa and after the Harare coaching clinic, they will leave for Zambia and Tanzania on a similar mission.
Speaking to NewsDay Sport on the sidelines of the coaching clinic at the National Sports Stadium yesterday, Guerrero said Barcelona would not abandon the tiki-taka playing style despite heavy criticism following Barcelona’s fall from grace in Spain and Europe and the capitulation of La Furia Roja at this year’s World Cup.
Bayern Munich, who have also adopted the tiki-taka since appointing former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola to the helm, were also demolished by Real Madrid in the Champions League, which are all worrying signs for fans of the possession-based style.
“Our philosophy is the same and we respect it,” Guerrero said.
“The system we use at Barcelona is one way. It’s not the best way, but it’s not the worst way because with this system, you can win, but you can also lose. I respect all the systems and ideas that teams use, but I am sure with our system, it’s possible to win in most instances than to lose.
“We have been criticised, but we are loyal to our system and we respect our philosophy.”
He added: “We share this idea [possession] football from the junior teams up to the senior team. Our philosophy is clear — to pass the ball and try to achieve something with it.
“We do not just pass the ball for nothing. We did not win always, but we have achieved more using the same system so there is no way we can stop it. But like I said, you can lose or win using different systems.”
In one of his presentations during the courses, he showed the participants a half-time pep-talk by Guardiola when he was still the Barça coach during a 2011 Uefa Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk where the title winning coach was telling his players: “Pass the ball well, make sure the ball reaches its destination, to the space and the man who is free. Be patient and try to pass the ball until we find space to score. Let’s be loyal and respect our philosophy.”
The two held two sessions yesterday, one on theory before going out for practical lessons. The coaching clinic concludes today.
Some of the team officials, coaches and team captains who attended yesterday’s sessions are:
Officials and coaches: Methembe Ndlovu (Bantu Rovers), Sheunesu Chaka (How Mine), Gishon Ntini (Chiredzi), Taurai Mangwiro (Caps United), Luis Maio (Caps United manager), Kelvin Kaindu (Highlanders), Rosemary Mugadza (Mighty Warriors coach), Langton Giwa (Young Mighty Warriors coach), John Nyikadzino (Chapungu), Timothy Masachi (Buffaloes), Saul Chaminuka (ZPC Kariba), Joisten Mathuthu (Black Rhinos), Biggie Zuze (Triangle), Bheki Nyoni (BN Academy), Takaendesa Jongwe (Zifa Technical advisor), Lloyd Mutasa (FC Platinum), Kalisto Pasuwa (Dynamos), Bigboy Mawiwi (Harare City), Joey Antipas (Chicken Inn).
Stephen Chimusoro (Chiredzi FC), Collen Kwaramba (Chapungu), Wilson Chakanyuka (Black Rhinos), Jacob Muzokomba (Buffaloes), Daniel Vheremu (FC Platinum), Murape Murape (Dynamos), George Magariro (How Mine), David Kutyauripo (Harare City), Tapiwa Kumbuyani (Caps United), William Mapfumo (Triangle), Innocent Mapuranga (Highlanders), Tawanda Munyanduri (ZPC Kariba)