Solomon Football > News > 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup > Kurukuru receive Spanish help

Kurukuru receive Spanish help

Lopez-Hierro touched down in Honiara on Sunday and he will spend 4 days working with Kurukuru on their preparations for the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup which will take place in Thailand in November. Lopez-Hierro was accompanied by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) beach soccer/futsal development officer, Paul Toohey, who is from New Zealand.
The players of the Kurukuru were introduced to Lopez-Hierro on Monday morning with the assistance of the team captain, Elliot Ragomo, who has found a new role as an interpreter bridging the language gap between the visitor and his teammates. The first session was used to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the team before the real work began.
Speaking at a press conference in Monday afternoon Lopez-Hierro thanked the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) for inviting him to work with the Kurukuru and he will assist the team the best way he could.
“I take this opportunity to thank the president of SIFF and the president of OFC for the invitation to work with the Oceania champions. Four (4) days is a limited amount of time but we will do our best to assist this team for their world cup preparations,” Lopez-Hierro said.
The vastly experienced, who coach was a former futsal player in Spain, also spoke highly of the Kurukuru players saying that he is impressed with the speed and skills that they have.
“The players in the national team are already very skilled and I must say I have never seen so many fast players together in one team. All that I need to do with them is to re-introduce and reinforce the tactical concepts of the game of futsal,” Lopez-Hierro said.
Kurukuru captain, Ragomo, spoke on behalf of his players and said that the team feels honoured and privileged to be working with Hierro.
“Lopez-Hierro is an accomplished coach in Spain and we feel proud and privileged to have him here with us. Already the team has learned a lot and the amount of confidence we have in ourselves has been multiplied. We all look forward to all our training sessions and we hope to gain as much as we can,” Ragomo said.
Defence is a major focus
One of the areas that Lopez-Hierro says he will be paying particular attention to is defence. While Kurukuru already has some strengths in attack there is considerable weakness in defence and in his second and third sessions with Kurukuru a lot of work was put into organising the defensive patterns and getting the players to familiarise themselves with the multi-positional requirements during each match.
“The players have displayed a good ability to organise their attack but we need improvements in their defence to happen. That is why I concluded that this is a major area for me to work on when I am here,” Lopez-Hierro said.
SIFF’s futsal development officer, Victor Waiia, says that he shares the point of view that Lopez-Hierro has that Kurukuru needs to patch up its defence.
“Kurukuru’s strength all along has been its ability to attack rapidly but at times our opponents have exposed our defensive weakness. In futsal 90 per cent is about defending and always teams with good defence end up in finals so I totally agree with Hierro and I really want the players and our national coaches to invest energy into their defence,” Waiia said.
An accomplished coach
Hierro is the top futsal coach in Europe and recently proved that when he led Spain to their sixth European title, their third since he took over the role in 2007. In addition, Hierro has won 3 Spanish Super Futsal Cup titles, an European Futsal Club Champions title and a silver medal at the FIFA 2008 Futsal World Cup when the Spanish national side finished in second place behind Brazil.
The forty-seven year old hails from Bilbao in the Northern region of Spain and is married and has a daughter. He started his futsal career as a player in 1979 and 10 years later he took up his first coaching role with Leioa Bilbao. From there he rose up the futsal coaching tier in Spain until he reached the apex when he was called into the national coaching fold in 1996. He remained there for 2 years before he left in 1998. In 2007 he was recalled as the Spanish futsal head coach and has remained in that position since then.
Lopez-Hierro will leave on Friday.