World Cup Winning Coach Marcos Go for Club Futsal
As a former FIFA Futsal World Cup winning coach, Brazilian Marcos Sorato, or also popularly known as Pipoca, understands the pressure to perform at the highest level. However, the former professional players in Brazil &
As a former FIFA Futsal World Cup winning coach, Brazilian Marcos Sorato, or also popularly known as Pipoca, understands the pressure to perform at the highest level. However, the former professional players in Brazil & Spain still continually strives to embrace new challenge. Besides having tasted successes at both the senior and the youth level, the out-spoken coach is currently building a whole new futsal culture at Al Nasr FC in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
So what does he think of the development of futsal in Asia? Hearing how is Falcao like from him and what is his view on FIFA’s effort in promoting futsal? World Cup winning coach Marcos Sorato speaks to Junpiter Futbol exclusively in Dubai, UAE.
JPF: Would you be able to share with us more on that year 2012 where you led Brazil National Team to the FIFA Futsal World Cup title?
MS: Futsal is a very big thing in my country, Brazil. As a defending world champion going into that 2012 World Cup, I was facing a lot of pressure from the Media as well as the Football Association to repeat what was done back in 2008, which was to lift the Cup again. Despite the enormous pressure, the team had faith in my capability as I was already the assistant coach with the National Team which won the previous World Cup. So to lift the World Cup as a head coach, I was really delighted.
JPF: So how was the journey from being an assistant coach to a head coach winning the world title?
MS: Honestly, I didn’t enjoy the journey as it was very pressurizing. It was a job and I was just concentrating to ensure everything clicked. In fact, as a coach I would have to take away players’ pressure so that they could play well and achieved the results. But then again, to win a World Cup is great.
JPF: Brazil did not start off that 2012 World Cup well especially with star player Falcao out injured?
MS: Yes, Falcao was already injured prior to that World Cup and I was all prepared to leave him out of the traveling squad. However, just before we depart for the World Cup, the doctor declared he’s fit enough to travel with the team but may not be at his fittest. Then again, Falcao is a well-respected figure in the team. Even if he is not playing, his presence in the team will motivate the entire squad. And if Falcao is on the pitch, he just needs that little moment on the court and there will be a possibility of him changing the game. Event until today, he still speaks about his game against Argentina (quarter-final) and Spain (final) in that World Cup 2012 where he scored the winners within that short few minutes he was on the court. He is just an amazing player.
Brazil National Futsal Team (Photo provided by Coach Marcos Sorato)
Coach Marcos Sorato putting Brazil’s Falcao through his pace (Photo provided by Coach Marcos Sorato)
JPF: It was reported that you have left the National Team after a disagreement with the decisions made by Brazilian Futsal Confederation (CBFC)?
MS: Prior to the World Cup in year 2012, I have thought about this; If I win the World Cup I will leave them (CBFC) and if I lose the World Cup, I know they will leave me. I have already been with the National setup for 8 years and I wanted a new challenge with a club. That was why I left the team for Europe. As for the disagreement with the decisions made by CBFC, I could only say every new President would have new direction and ideas. I respect that.
JPF: You have been coaching in Europe and eventually now settled in UAE, what makes you come all the way to Asia?
MS: After leaving Brazil, I have been involving in some futsal projects in Milan. I have also coached in Russia but it was only for a year. The Russian League had decided not to have any foreigner involvement, hence I moved on. Thereafter, another UAE-based Brazilian coach, Zego, who has worked in 25 different countries, got in touched with me. He asked if I am keen to come over. In Brazil, I worked with many big players and everything was run very professionally. Here, the country is trying to grow futsal. I reckon this is the kind of challenge, which I have been missing all these while. The rest is history.
JPF: As a World Cup winning coach, what do you think of the development of futsal in Asia?
MS: I am not very familiar with AFC’s direction on the development of futsal in Asia. Doesn’t matter where we are talking about, I always think that more effort should be put into developing futsal. In Brazil, the culture is as such that futsal is used as a developing tool in the youth developing system. In another word, all children from the age of 7-13 year old will have to play futsal before they are being developed to a full 11-aside player.
Coach Marcos Sorato briefing his team during training
JPF: So in your opinion, how can Asian futsal improve?
MS: We have to expose more people to futsal. I used to play in Spain as a professional futsal player for 15 years. During my time, there was no professional league in Spain. So when I was playing in Spain, the people there learnt from people like us, the foreign players who were used to playing at the highest level. From there, they learnt. For example, if a coach asks you to do a trick, you might not understand or do, but if you keep seeing your teammate doing the same thing, you will want to learn and pick it up. In this context, I hope to see more professional leagues building up in Asia; gradually more good players from other continents will come over to share their experiences.
The respective Football Association (FA) will also have to support their futsal in their country. So far, I have only seen Japan’s Nagoya Oceans, which is probably the only team with professional players in Asia, competing professionally. We definitely need more such professional teams around.
JPF: Which continent plays the best futsal?
MS: The European plays the best futsal at the moment. Although South America is known to develop all the good players, the economy in Europe is more stable which provided the Europeans with the right resources and support to play their best futsal ever.
JPF: Brazilian’s Falcao is the most well known futsal player in the world. So as his former coach, would you share with us how he really is as a player?
MS: Falcao is a very hardworking player and is also very respectful to all people. Apart from that, he is one player who has extremely good PR (Public Relationship) skill. He is good at handling the media! Do you know that futsal has always been a huge sport in Brazil but we did not have any media coverage? Not until Falcao’s influence – he has raised the profile of futsal in the country and the sport is enjoying all the media coverage now. Well, the current status of Portugal’s Ricardinho is almost identical to what Falcao has done but like what we have said, Falcao has done it first.
JPF: What is the next big thing for futsal and your view on the future futsal?
MS: The Professional Futsal League in United States of America could be the next huge platform for futsal. The world is all looking at them and it will be good for all players and even coaches.
Apart from the new League that is forming in the North America, I hope FIFA will put in more effort and play a bigger role in futsal development to see the sport grow. There have been talks about having futsal in the Olympic since 1988 but until now, almost 30 years, there is still no futsal in the Olympic. There is also no International World Youth tournament for futsal. Young players are not coming through the ranks and that was exactly what happened to Italy when they participated in the 2008 FIFA Futsal World Cup with 12 neutralized Brazilians.
Back in the seventies/eighties, Spain was not a futsal nation. However, thing took a huge turn after Spain hosted the FIFA Futsal World Cup in 1985. That World Cup enlighted everyone and it opened a new chapter of futsal development and craze in Spain. Gradually, the country started their professional futsal league, Primera División de Futsal in 1989. Then again, things like this will only work if both FIFA and AFC (in this instance) can work together to bring World Cup to the new countries that have never host such a tournament to raise the awareness.
Look at Volleyball. This sports has Olympic, they have World Cup and they have a World League. If FIFA is seriously looking at raising the awareness and improving futsal, they can do a similar World League every 2 years for futsal.
My last point is about the right candidate selection. The right person has to be brought in if we are to do the right thing. New Zealand could be the next venue for the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup. I think they are doing a fantastic job as they have got the right people who care about the sports in place. With no disrespect, I do not see any “futsal person” in FIFA at the moment.
Junpiter Futbol’s Jun Tan meeting up with Coach Marcos Sorato in Dubai