With a practical strategy, Argentine coach Jose Nestor Pekerman achieved once again after 16 years of failure to lead Colombia back to the World Cup.
The strategist of 64 years was given eleven players, good players but with no clear script, and transformed them into one that displays offensive power and control of the ball.
"We will go to Brazil with the hope making it a great World Cup; we certainly will be an important team," said Pekerman.
The strategist brought an end to an era of over 20 years of Colombian coaches of the national team with Francisco Maturana, Hernan Dario Gomez, Luis ‘Chiqui’ Garcia, Reinaldo Rueda, Jorge Luis Pinto and Eduardo Lara at the helm.
The road was not easy for Pekerman since taking the reins of Colombia’s National Team at a time of crisis, when after the first rounds of elimination in which they played nine only won four.
The poor performance of coach Leonel Alvarez resulted in his removal and allowed the arrival of the Argentinean, who took charge on Thursday, January 5, 2012 beginning a time of austerity in contacts with the press and working on building football "family".
- Discreet but effective -
"It's a wonderful team," said the coach with a hoarse voice after finishing in the World Cup qualifiers in which the team played 16 games , winning 11, 2 draws and 3 losses for a yield of 72.92 %.
His work is as successful as it is valued in Colombia to the point that in late 2013 the newspaper El Tiempo chose him as person of the year.
Pekerman, who was a player in Colombia with Independiente Medellín between 1975 and 1978, led the national team of Argentina in the 2006 World Cup in Germany finishing in fifth place with a practical, fast, and offensive play.
Born in the province of Entre Rios, Pekerman has extensive experience with national youth teams of his country with whom he led to become U-20 world champions in Qatar (1995), Malaysia (1997) and Argentina (2011), and reached the round of 16 in Nigeria (1999).
He also led the national team of the U-17 and ended in third in the World Cup of Ecuador (1995) and reached the quarterfinals in Egypt (1997).
After the German World Cup, the strategist coached Toluca of Mexico and the Mexican Tigres.
Pekerman was the top pick of Colombian leaders, after compatriot Gerardo 'Tata' Martino, now coach of FC Barcelona, rejected an offer to lead Colombia.
The coach consolidated a group with players like striker Radamel Falcao Garcia and the young midfielder James Rodriguez (both AS Monaco).
Pekerman professes a practical strategy, a based on a defense with experience and a line of very aggressive midfielders.
Under this structure, Colombia qualified for the World Cup behind Argentina’s lead in Group C where they will face Greece, Ivory Coast, and Japan.
Text and photo: AFP