Nestor Garcia He grabbed his phone, saw the caller’s name on the screen, and answered.
-I need to talk with you.
-I tell you yes.
“I knew it was for that,” he says Che, who during the 40 minute interview with Clarion he will not be able (nor will he; why do it, after all) hide his face of happiness for being the new coach of the Argentine national team, a distinction that reaches young people 56 years old but with nothing more and nothing less than 33 years of experience as DT.
Spoke, the new coach, from the call you made Fabian Borro, president of the Argentine Basketball Confederation, to offer him the position he was leaving Sergio Hernandez after 6 successful years. As he relates, there was no need for further discussion to agree.
-How many times were you close and how many times did you have pain or frustration that it didn’t happen?
– (He thinks) I never felt frustrated or hurt because he didn’t depend on me. I’ve been in this for years and I always knew that the coach who was in the National Team was the one who had to be, regardless of whether others might have the desire or possibilities.
-But your name was always going around and something would generate you …
-Yes of course. But there are things that do not depend on you. I can do my best wherever I am. Then the universe will conspire or the one who decides will choose you. But the decision that I was DT was not up to me; it was for me to show my work. I never imagined the occurrence of things that were going to happen to me in a chain when I began to be a coach. And I learned to take the blows. When you hold on, you reinvent yourself and go out, something I learned from my teacher, Julio Toro. At the time I would have felt that I was left behind, but I always reinvented myself because I love this profession. And because it is one of the few things that I know how to do well in this life (laughs).
Che’s file: as Boca’s coach at the end of 1999. Photo Marcelo Figueras
-What generates you having to come to present your credentials in the National Team after so much travel abroad?
-It is a divine motivation. I received a lot of messages and it is the first time that I realize that I have made a career in the world of basketball. Many people write to me saying “you deserved it”. And where is the scale of merits? Many people sacrifice and things do not reach them. That’s why I say this is a blessing from God, I am privileged to have been chosen for this. I will do my best and I will have to answer to whoever it is because that is what they chose me for.
-You talked about the messages that made you deserve. Did you think you deserved it?
-Now I’m beginning to believe that I deserved it. When I received so much support from different estates telling me that I deserved it, that’s where I began to believe it. And now I feel that I do, because people don’t give away merits for life. And my family and friends have told me, but also coaches, players, journalists … I left a lot to make my career: my family, my city … I changed a lot of things to continue growing and in the end, at this point maybe deserved it. But look: I came here for different reasons, because Sergio is leaving (because if not, he should continue). And there I return to that: falling in a certain place does not depend on one but on many factors.
In proper names
Che’s archive: as Uruguay’s DT in the 2003 Olympic Qualification. Photo Clarín Archive
Just as he did not hesitate when he answered Fabián Borro’s call, Che García also assures that there were no second thoughts, once he was confirmed as the new coach, in an important detail: the captaincy of the Selected in what will be the Post era Luis Scola.
“The captain will be Campazzo: I chose him, I told him about it and he loved it, although at first he was a little quiet (laughs)”, says the coach before justifying the decision: “He has had an impressive career; he is young but with experience; in the Real Madrid I watched for two years how they gave him the power of decision. And he has dedication, professionalism, an image that young people have of him, what he learned from each experience “.
-You told in your presentation that you spoke with him, with some players. Scola will no longer be a part, but are you planning to communicate with him?
– I want to talk to Luis, yes. We have passed here in New York End of the year parties with our respective families; we have a relationship of respect and affection. I’m going to call him in these days. Luis is the Selection. With his obligations and his things, the physical presence is another thing, as it happens to all the players of the Golden Generation. I do not have to say that his doors are open: when he wants to be, he will be.
-You are one of the coaches who knows Fabián Borro best and you always had a great relationship with him. Do you think he is prejudiced or criticized for excess?
-I can tell you that he has a great heart. He is a spectacular person. And I never worked with him, huh; It is not that we won a championship and we were left with something nice. At the time he looked for me to go to Works, we did not fix it and I went to Saudi Arabia. When I had an accident there and was left prostrate, in 2004 (N. de R .: riding a jet-ski, the first lumbar vertebra was broken and he was in complete rest for a month), he called me every day to find out how he was, he moved with people so that my children could come … I have a very pure relationship with him and also with people with whom he may have differences. You hear all of this in the basketball environment, but I saw everything from the outside and I try not to prejudge anything. I speak to you about my personal experience and I am grateful to him.
Thinking about the court
Che’s archive: with Oveja Hernández in a Peñarol-Atenas in Mar del Plata. Photo Fabián Gastiarena
-You are used to vertigo and day to day. Even training other teams, you managed teams. How are you going to handle this of being “full time” and not being stick and stick training and competing every week?
-I’m talking about it with Fabían because coaches like to direct. I am now doomed to this. Tomorrow we will see, if there is an opportunity that nurtures me in this profession and serves the National Team … Today my head is in the November window, completely immersed in that, and I am enjoying it. I am about speaking all things, so if one day I feel the need to lead, I will speak it, but the National Team will always be ahead.
-You had been directing teams that had to search for them to fight upstairs. Now you come to a team that at least on the continent is always there by nature and has even been world runner-up. Do you work differently from the basketball or the motivational?
-At international level, if you do things well, the plans are quite similar. I always repeat that this is 5 against 5 and you can beat anyone. There are good nights and bad nights, huh. There are nights when the hoop is a wedding ring and others when it is a bathtub. So from that point on I will raise it the same. We will look for motivation regardless of who is the rival. Work and delivery should always be the same, regardless of the circumstances.
In this sense, Che is final and emphasizes an issue that he does not want to lose focus as soon as “his” is playing. Argentina. Explain the coach: “I’m going to talk a lot about this with Fabián, with him Gringo (Andrés Pelussi, CAB sports director), the players and the staff. Today every tournament is great, every match is great because of the world rankings, whose preparation is complicated to understand and transmit and that is what I am doing. Measurements of FIBA they are mathematics and it is not the same to win by between 9 and 19 points than to win by 8, as it is not the same to lose by 20 than to lose by 18. There is no longer this ‘there are 10 seconds left and we win therefore’: go, score and defend. And we have to stay high in the rankings to be seeded in the draws. “
Che’s file: with the 2015 FIBA Americas Cup that beat Argentina. Reuters photo
-As for the game, Argentina comes from being world runner-up with a style and also from taking a hit at the Games. When you had to compete with Venezuela and the Dominican, you had different and well-marked forms before the powers. How do you imagine the team in those scenarios, in principle?
-The variability is very important. In the window you are selector; at the AmeriCup or other tournaments there will be a time to concentrate. I have to adapt based on the talent I have and the situation we play. We have to defend very hard, we don’t have players behind us that cover us a lot so we have to be aggressive, extend the defense, combine, confuse; and in attack share the ball, look for the extra pass and hide the physical shortcomings that we have for modern basketball. We can play fast, with speed of execution, but at an athletic level and size we are less than the great teams in the world; We will have to hide all that with the game. We will be coupling based on 4 or 5 core ideas that will not be changed, but will depend on the calls later.