Road to Argentina – Part 5: Interview Colombia

Jhon Yeimer Santos Segura – Coach Colombia

“We check the social media to find out how good the teams are that we are facing!”
Today we are talking with Jhon Yeimer, coach of Team Colombia. The 34-year-old physical education teacher calls himself a passionate fistball coach and he tells us about the sport in Colombia and the expectations for the World Cup 2015.
IFA: Hello Jhon, beside your job as men’s coach you are also responsible for the women’s team. How difficult is it to do both coaching tasks and do you see it as an advantage or disadvantage?
Jhon: In my eyes it is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage, it’s just the situation in which Colombia is right now. We only have one coach, so therefore I have to lead both teams. It would be great to have an interdisciplinary team that would train the two teams separately.
IFA: With the Colombian women’s team you competed in Dresden at the women World Cup last year. What were your impressions of the big fistball circus?
Jhon: Coming to Dresden was a very good thing because for the first time in our history we participated in a World Cup. With the help of Stuttgart we prepared very well in Germany and stayed there for some precious games as pre-competition. In total we played 16 games prior to the World Cup there. We should therefore thank the German federation who was very attentive to us. The tournament in Dresden allowed us to get first-hand experience on high-level fistball.
IFA: All the players and spectators liked the way you and the team presented themselves. Colombia was really the crowd favourite at the World Cup.
Jhon: Yeah it was really nice indeed. We could interact not only with players but also with spectators. Some asked us for autographs that was very strange and wonderful at the same time. The people there bought our shirts, we made friends with international fistball players and at home the fans watched our games via livestream on the internet. It was really special to us and we appreciate all the helping words, joy and attention the people in Germany gave to us.
IFA: How big are the connections between the different fistball teams in South America? Are you playing tournaments together?
Jhon: There is always contact and a connection in South America. We are looking at the events that are happening in Brazil because is there is more local competition, but our financial resources and our possibilities do not allow us to participate in these tournaments very often. So we have to select one or two tournaments per year where we are attending. Our playing level is not as good as the skills of the other nations. But before we are playing a tournament, we always check the social media channels to find out how good the teams are that we are facing there.
IFA: What about club competition in Colombia?
Jhon: Unfortunately we have no local competition, because we are just a few group of people that are training. We have three clubs training together for international competitions like World Cup or the South American Games.
IFA: With the ladies you already experienced the differences between the “small” and the “big” fistball nations. In Cordoba there will be five newcomer nations. What do you think about it?
Jhon: There is a great difference between nations that are just at the beginning of the development of the sport and countries that are playing fistball for a long time, that’s what we also saw at the PanAm Games. Colombia is still not a world-class team and we have a lot of work to do to promote our sport in Colombia. Our men’s team is a little more competitive than the women’s team, that’s what we saw at the last tournaments. We have a young team which is motivated and has high expectations, despite all the financial problems that are coming along with the trip to the World Cup.
IFA: So what are your expectations for the tournament and which place do you want to reach?
Jhon: It is very difficult to tell how we are going to perform, because our level of development is very slow and we don’t know how the other new nations will play. At the Pan American Games we ranked eighth in the club competition and fourth with the national team. As we go to Argentina with a young team, we hope to finish in the middle of the table. We want to achieve better athletic performance, to get closer to the possibility of playing at the World Games 2017 in Poland. We want to do be there and is a huge goal for us. As we have analysed the playing level at the World Games in Cali 2013, we believe that it could have a favourable outcome for our team.
IFA: OK Jhon, thank you very much for your answers and good luck in Argentina.
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