Genoa – Antonio Filippini enters the “Gambino” bar in Arenzano for a coffee, sees Alessandro Agostini, coach of the Primavera, sitting at the table finishing his lunch. The hug starts, mutual compliments start and Filippini adds: «This year we scored a hat-trick, better than that…». Mission accomplished for everyone: first of all the promotion to Serie A of the first team, then the promotion of Primavera. And of course the salvation of Women.
Mister Filippini, let’s start from the beginning: how did the idea of coaching women’s Genoa come about?
«When Marta Carissimi called me, she first of all asked me if I was interested in coaching women. I had no experience but my older brother Fabio coached women’s teams at an amateur level, in which my wife also played. I’ve always followed women’s football and it intrigued me, so it all started from there, from my affirmative answer. And I really think I made the right choice.”
Seven wins and two draws to save Genoa in the first year of Serie B.
«We finished with an average higher than that of the small group of teams of our level. We knew we had to score points between February and March, when the calendar would have put us up against opponents within our reach. Then after we slipped only in the away match in Trento but in San Marino I saw how much my team has improved in recent months. We won 4-1 and closed the practical salvation».
Before the Women, he coached the boys from the youth sector to Serie C for 12 years. Has the style changed?
«To train the girls, you don’t need technicians who scream and swear. I’m not like that, I’ve never been. And it wasn’t Mazzone, a coach who was fundamental to my career. He would have liked to coach the girls, they have a crazy desire to learn. In 12 years with the boys I’ve had four or five questions on tactics from them, here in five months I had to brush up on UEFA course A and UEFA course B. They want to know everything. I see myself in them, in the constant desire to learn and improve».
At the beginning of the year, there were only a few dozen people on the Gambino steps, just relatives and friends. At the last game there were smoke bombs and a choreography.
“I saw and it moved me. To win over the fans you need results but you also need the spirit that the girls have. At 5-2 for Napoli they kept pushing because they wanted to get to the draw even if in the end there were only a few minutes left. They don’t give up and theirs is an eighties and nineties football, the one that made you fall in love. A football that can be seen in the Premier League, with few interruptions, without simulations and waste of time, played a lot».
What does it take to get to Serie A?
«I think they need a couple of seasons. In the next one we will have to reduce the gap from the front runners and get close to the leading group. And then the following year to start with the goal of promotion. As happens every year, new girls will arrive and others will leave. It will be essential to continue with the same desire to improve that I have seen in recent months. And the work that the company is doing is very important: it also has ambitious goals in the women’s sector».
Coach and also mental coach.
«I went there for the first time when I was 28, I had everything and felt the need for new motivation. In two years my performance on the field has improved by 30 or 40%. I then studied a lot, I’ve been a mental coach for 20 years and several footballers have turned to me for support. He is a fundamental figure in today’s football »
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