Vicente Del Bosque may lack the unpredictability and colorfulness of Luis Aragones, his predecessor as Spanish coach, but to the players he brings a calmness and authority which are imperative when things are not going smoothly.
However, the 59-year-old, who casts a lugubrious looking figure on the bench, rejects the notion that he is simply a father figure to a group of players who won the European title under Aragones and are within touching distance of adding the World Cup to it.
“To be a father figure is not sufficient in order to do a good job,” said a clearly agitated del Bosque at last year’s Confederations Cup, where Spain lost to the US in the semi-finals. “You have to have other qualities. I have enough experience in order to earn the respect of my players.”
This he has in spades as the out of form Fernando Torres attests.
“He [del Bosque] is a very good coach, of course,” said the Liverpool star, who scored Spain’s winner in the 1-0 win over Germany in the Euro 2008 final.
“He coached Real Madrid for years, with the biggest stars in the world at that time, and the best players. He knows exactly how to deal with players,” Torres said.
Spain’s rampaging right-back Sergio Ramos also professes a great respect for Del Bosque.
“We love his philosophy,” Ramos said. “He is a great coach, he is very refined psychologically as well, and very interested in the players’ welfare.”
That is not to say that del Bosque — who devoted most of his career to Real Madrid making over 300 appearances for them as a defensive midfielder and winning 18 caps — shies away from letting his players know when he is dissatisfied with them as he did after the opening matches at the World Cup finals.
Del Bosque was said to be “angry” after the opening 1-0 defeat by Switzerland, then “not at all happy” in the manner they beat Honduras 2-0 in their second match.
He says, though, that is his way of preventing the players from resting too much on the laurels of their Euro 2008 victory.
“Human relations are fundamental,” he said. “My task is to ask the players for daily efforts. But it is not a question of imposing something for the sake of it or just to make it a show of strength that I am the one in command.”
This trademark of having good relations with the players served Del Bosque well during his four years in charge of Real from 1999-2003 where he had especially strong relations with Guti, who he had known since he was a child.
But it also had a negative effect as he was sneered at for the manner in which Real icons Fernando Hierro and Raul appeared to wield excessive influence over him, criticism that he rejected.
That type of balanced regime certainly paid off as with his trusty homegrown Real players aligned with the galacticos such as Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane they collected two Champions League trophies and two league titles.
However, even the affable del Bosque’s principles were tested to the limit in the manner of his summary dismissal from the Real post by club president Florentino Perez a day after he landed them the 2003 league title.
Especially hurtful was the manner in which Perez explained his sacking because a man who had served the club for 35 years apparently did not “fit the image of Real.”
“Me also I have my moodswings; sometimes I can’t contain myself and I lose my sangfroid, even if I always try to keep a certain balance,” del Bosque said.
Typically, though, of his character he refused to react to the barbed criticisms aimed in his direction by Aragones following the 1-0 defeat by the Swiss.
“I will never say anything against my predecessor as coach because there is not a Spain of Luis nor is there a Spain of Del Bosque, there is just one Spain,” he said.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to