The day Alfredo Arias arrived to take charge of Santa Fe, issued a warning. Before a swarm of cameras and microphones, he spoke with the wisdom of his 63 years, with the license that his titles in Uruguay (Montevideo Wanderers) and Ecuador (Emelec) give him, and with the experience of having managed Deportivo Cali, and then he said, in a calm but strong voice: “Let the rivals prepare.”
Arias, the Uruguayan coach who was chosen to vindicate Santa Fe, already feels like one of the pack, the head of the lions. He is motivated, excited, and feels capable of making Santa Fe roar again, which opens the other Sunday, against La Equidad.
Hand in hand with Arias
How have you felt in Santa Fe?
Very good, with all the desire, training from the first day to full. The weather doesn’t help, it rains almost every day, it’s difficult to have a place to train and work well, but the players have had a good attitude. I was received by a professional group, dedicated to what should be, and we are in the process of mutual learning. Hopefully we can get to the championship with enough time to solidify an idea and game concepts.
Do you see a motivated group?
Without a doubt, we are in a big team, the last two semesters the team did not qualify and that leads them to not have all the confidence, but I see them as strong, motivated, they know where we are, they know what we expect of them: we know that we are in the lion –Arias roars and laughs–: the lion is wounded, but that is when we have to become stronger.
Is that lion willing to roar with you?
It is the whole idea. The lion does not stop being a lion and Santa Fe does not stop being Santa Fe for not qualifying in the last two semesters, it still has the same aspirations: its people, its fans, its leaders and we want to fight for the greatest, go for glory, but for that you have to go through a path of work, training, effort, humility, and all the teams want to be among the eight, so our first goal is to qualify.
But looking at the title sideways…
I want to go for everything, but you have to walk a path. Logically, if we manage to qualify, we are going to go for everything, but we cannot say that until we achieve the first.
What do you expect from your team?
That he be humble on the court, that he gives himself, that he has a desire for glory, a desire to win everywhere and to go out with that mentality of winning from the first ball to the last. We want to be difficult for everyone, to be a strong team.
Did you find good leaders?
Without a doubt, Santa Fe has very good leaders on the court and they are going to pave the way for us, and there are young people with many aspirations, there is a mix of experience and youth. We hope that everything will be given and we can be competitive…
When he arrived he said, ‘have the others prepare’. Is it his battle phrase?
Yes, that’s why I say the wounded lion thing. Don’t let them get too close, eh, heh, heh, because the lion is the lion, wounded or not wounded, we’re going to go all out.
That is the feeling that the fans have…
It is that the fan everywhere wants to win, but this fan from Santa Fe has a story on his shoulders and on his chest, a history rich in titles, he is the first champion, he is the champion of the South American, not everyone can be international champions in Colombia and Santa Fe it is, so we are going to try to honor it and make the fans proud to see their team on the field.
How is the project going?
The first thing was to see how the building was and on that Santa Fe and its campus build ours. Within the possibilities that exist, we have tried to reinforce ourselves in fundamental positions that failed last semester. Hopefully the ones that arrived will catch up quickly. The important thing is that I have a squad that already know each other.
There are 4 reinforcements, let’s talk about them…
(José) Aja, I haven’t had it, I’ve faced it, I’ve seen it. In the range of possibilities we chose José, we believe that he is going to give us strength in the aerial game, as well as in the defensive part; (Geisson) Perea arrived and we faced him, he adds speed to his technique, he gives us ductility and he has experience.
Jeferson Rivas is a ‘9’ scorer in B, he comes with a good record and it is necessary to have a player in that position to help our historic scorer, Morelo. About José Enamorado, the president asked me, I know him, I had him in Cali, he had little continuity, but he can give us values in attack: he is fast, he has imbalance, he is talented, he will have to earn the position, there are several ahead of him .
– Independent Santa Fe (@SantaFe) June 26, 2022
What do you need?
It is not closed, because it is not known, we have to wait for contracts, if they release players, we have no chance to choose and bring in the most valued, we have to use our imagination, if there is an opportunity that can give us, it will be given, and if not, we are fine, we have a sufficient squad.
what I want to see is the attitude, starring in games with the ball and without it, we will try to show that.
What are they going to play?
Hopefully soon we can put the idea on the field, it is not easy because of the weather, the climate; Players are arriving, there are still days to fine-tune details, but what I want to see is the attitude, starring in games with the ball and without it, we will try to show that.
And with what tactical idea?
There is always a basic structure, but football needs to vary, due to the rivals or the circumstances of the game. We try to make them understand that in these variations of the matches they have to be attentive to receiving an order to change. Basically we have played 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, but sometimes to find solutions we put together a line of 3, we launch lanes, we join 5 players in the middle, the structure is not closed.
You won in Ecuador and Uruguay. Arrive with those rich experiences in Santa Fe…
I think I don’t know much less than I did before when I was in Cali. Experience makes me learn and winning makes us learn. I hope that I can be worthy of this distinction and honor of being in charge of a team as important as Santa Fe.
It’s time to roar…
We are the wounded lion, but watch out for us.
Editor of THE TIME
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