Jörg Ramel, Coach Italy
“The top teams are going to be hard to beat, but maybe we can win a set or two. “
Today’s interview partner is Jörg Ramel. The 54-year-old Bavarian is the trainer of the team “SSV Bozen” as well as the national team of Italy since 2011. On the way to Cordoba, Argentina he has to deal with not only the team’s performance but also personal matters which affect the team’s line of offence.
IFA: Hi Jörg, you are a native German and now working as a coach in Bolzano. What’s the story behind your current position as a national coach?
Jörg Ramel: In my time as an active player I have been in contact with the fistball players from Bolzano over a longer period of time. Somehow my way led me here and just before the World Championships 2003 in Brazil I got stuck in Bolzano and became a permanent member of the coaching staff. I started off as assistant coach and after the last World Cup in Austria 2011 I took over as head coach.
IFA: At the last championship in Austria your team achieved the 7th place. Tell us what happened in the last four years in Italy concerning fistball. Are there more people who play fistball now?
Jörg: No, we do not really have many more fistball players. The basis of the team from 2011 is more or less the same, but there are also a few new additions. It’s difficult to encourage sportsmen to play fistball in Italy and unfortunately Bolzano is the only city in the country where the sport is played. If the people from Bolzano wouldn’t keep up their great work, fistball in Italy would be dead. Considering that the national team only consists of players from one club, the international performance of Italy is quite impressive.
IFA: Italy hosted the Women’s European Championship this year in July, as a result fistball was in the media spotlight in South Tyrol. What were the effects of this international event?
Jörg: The media presence during the championship was incredible, all newspapers printed big reports and even camera crews appeared daily at the venue. Up until then this has never been seen in the history of fistball in Bolzano, maybe the many reports can boost the image of fistball as a team sport in Italy.
IFA: As already mentioned, your team finished 7th at the last World Cup, what are your goals and expectations for Córdoba 2015?
Jörg: Our main goal is to beat the nations that are not playing on a world-class level but have already been competing for a couple of years such as USA, Namibia and the Czech Republic. It won’t be easy because those nations also made big steps forward in their playing style. Regarding the new starting nations like Pakistan or Australia, there should not be any doubt on who is the better team. The top teams are going to be hard to beat, but maybe we can manage to win a set or two. In the end I would like to say that we played our best fistball, and when we do, we should rank among the top 8 nations.
IFA: Are there any final preparations on your way to Argentina? What about the effects it has on the team playing in Austria’s first division?
Jörg: We are proud that we made it to the top league in Austria and the tough matches will help the team to achieve their best performances before the World Championship. In late October we are also trying to compete against some top teams on our local sports field, we can’t afford to be out of practice at the Championships and therefore we are going to try to maintain a high level of playing skills.
IFA: So the team members for the competition are already fixed?
Jörg: Yes, currently we have nominated nine players. Unfortunately two of our strikers are going to miss out on the trip to Argentina due to their study schedules at university. The fact that the selection of strikers is limited hurts, of course, but we want to stay on course.
IFA: Thanks for the interview and we wish you and your team the best of luck for the World Cup.
Road to Argentina – Teil 7: Interview Italy
Jörg Ramel, Coach Italy