“The Hungary coach Rossi is right, in Italy there is little meritocracy”
Genoa – «Genoa? The rossoblù will stay with you forever. Recently some fans contacted me and they shot me an old song that they sang for me in Genoese dialect. The concept was “Augusto run, don’t stop, break everything”. And then I remember the banner they had dedicated to me: “Gentilini, via Isonzo loves you”. There was a crazy passion ».
True. But even the U19 boys of the Peking University Academy have become very fond of him, Augusto Gentilini, former left-back of the Grifone from 1987 to 1989, now coach in China.
Sixty years celebrated on 1 July at home, in San Benedetto del Tronto, Gentilini has been breeding talents in Qinhuangdao for two years: «In Italy, as the history of Marco Rossi, Hungary coach teaches, it is not easy to work, there is little meritocracy. In China there was Marco Nappi, a brother to me: thanks to him and to Scic Football I tried this experience ». An adventure that in the last year has been even more special: “After the pandemic, many foreign coaches were not allowed to return – Gentilini says – I, on the other hand, got permission in October 2020 and stayed there until May. Without Nappi and other Italian friends it was harder, but it was nice to find the boys again. And I’ll be back in a while, I have a contract until December. Now I enjoy my family: at 60 I understand even more the importance of carpe diem ».
While the pandemic that broke out in China was experiencing the second wave in Europe, Gentilini has seen the Chinese restart up close: «In everyday life they have left much more than us, with force. Everyone has an app on their mobile that monitors their health status: Covid was more under control than in Europe. In football, on the other hand, there has been a slowdown, a downsizing: fewer foreigners, caps for salaries. Chinese Serie A and B were played with only 8 teams and in two cities. We in the youth teams were able to train regularly but without making the championship. In any case, I have lived two wonderful years. And their sports facilities are excellent ».
But the memories of the past, for the full-back born in Rocca di Papa (Rome) every now and then they come back to the surface. Two years in Genoa, in Serie B, 49 appearances and a goal «but decisive for the salvation of the first year. In the second, instead, the ride to the A with Scoglio. Unforgettable emotions ». Four models on the bench: “I had Liedholm Sonetti, Simoni and Scoglio – continues Gentilini – The Baron struck for his charisma, Simoni was an exceptional man and in Serie B he won championships in flurry. Sonnets and Scoglio were in the forefront tactically. How many anecdotes. The Professor was 24 hours a day with the suit and the whistle around his neck, ready to train you at any time. These were the true masters. I took their teachings to China. The Chinese boys have a great culture of work, they have to grow tactically but there are talents who could play in Italy ». And Gentilini too, despite being happy in China, would be ready to return: «I’d like to coach a Primavera or Allievi with the experience gained abroad. I worked for 5 years with the amateur youth teams: I knew all the talents, from Aosta to Ragusa. I’m sorry when there are so many foreigners in the Italian youth teams, especially in the top clubs. And I am overjoyed for the Scudetto won by Ruotolo with Genoa U18, with many Ligurian boys ».
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