Continuing with the coaching round, Basketball Total arrived in Palermo to speak with Juan José Rovira. The “Sapo”, who had not managed for a year, will be in charge of Atenas, a historic club that returns and is a candidate to win the DTA title.
How is the coaching staff formed?
My technical assistant is Javier Sánchez. When Alejandro Ramos left, who dedicated himself to journalism, the possibility of having Javier came out. I knew him that he had worked in several teams in this division and he is an ideal. He knows what it’s like to win here and he really made me very happy. At the same time we have the teacher, Ignacio Rama and with the physio came the possibility of Maximiliano Alonso, who was a player of the club. I had him in Biguá, I know him as a person and he is a good professional who works very well.
What does your return to basketball feel like?
I was waiting a year. I had chances that weren’t what I was looking for. I wanted something more long-term, working in training and leaving something to the club, not just going for a few months, directing El Metro and leaving. There was a talk with Atenas, which at first was only for the DTA, but we had other talks where I presented a project to work in Primera and in formative studies. It suited both parties perfectly because it was what I wanted to do and what the club needed to open.
What is the main idea of your project?
It’s the same thing that I tried to do in Biguá, that in training they play the same thing that the first team plays, that the whole work issue is not something different. In Athens it is different because we are at zero, we have to make a call for applicants and it will be something in the long term. The idea is that everything is on the same path, and that Javier also works in training with me, that we all play the same thing.
How has the team’s preparation been?
We are doing well, just in the last few weeks the rest of the remaining El Metro players came, since we only came with the club’s players. We are aware that there is not much work or time. There are players who played with me and they know what I like and it’s easier.
Are you satisfied with the squad?
We did the squad, the leaders agreed. When the leaders listen to the technicians, it is easier to work. They moved very fast and that did Athens very well because we quickly got to hire good basketball players.
How do you experience the return of a basketball history like Athens?
I’m very happy because they listened to me, because I was able to talk to them, because they were interested. Atenas is a very big club and in my first meeting the club was closed, there was no electricity, there was practically nothing. In two weeks we opened the door and everything changed, people gathered around. In a few days a basketball school starts working. The club is already different, there are many people who come together because they want to do well. Now there is a project for an outsourced gym that will bring in more people and will do things well. I am happy and happy that Athens has trusted me.
Is it a plus to have several men with experience in promotions?
We have a lot of young and experienced players. Héctor Silva is the oldest at 31 years old, but afterwards they are all under 30 years old. Players who are here to play the League and who are going to end up playing there, have a high level and trusted to come to the club because I was here. We are working as if Athens were a League team and we are doing very well.
How are the friendlies being?
We played three friendlies. The idea of these games is that the players know each other and not so much the results of winning or losing. The main thing is that they know each other since there is not much time to work and it must be borne in mind that there are players who have not played basketball for two years. These games are very useful to us. We have two or three more for the next few days.
What do you think of the tournament dispute form?
We know that they only upload two pictures, and Athens has to go through one of those places. Although there was talk of four promotions, but that was left in talks. We are going to go to one of those places and we are calm, Athens has to go up, change the face of what happened and that people return to the club, have training again and that people re-identify with the institution. If we buckle that up with a promotion it would be divine.
How important is the people’s return to basketball?
We know what Athens is, the club was opened and in three days we had many people wanting to help. Athens is going to do things well, now we have to enjoy both ourselves on the field, the leaders with their work and do all things well so as not to repeat what happened before and we have to give an outward signal on how to behave and respect the club that is very big.
What are the objectives of Athens?
The main objective is promotion, and above all for Athens to compete at a high level. That the club be seen again in competitions that are good for basketball in general.
What do you think will be the promotions to El Metro?
It is an even championship, where the fields play their role, and although several teams did well, Athens is the candidate. Welcome also made a significant investment, but we have to go match by match and as always there will be surprises, but we have to move up.
What message do you leave for the people of Athens?
That we are working hard, worried that everything goes as well as possible and ask them to join us, that we depend on them and everyone to move up, not only encouraging the team but also taking care of the club so that Atenas returns to the Uruguayan Basketball League, where it has to be.