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Thread: Gol de Cuba: ¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

  1. #26
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    That structure of the Second Division B has got my head spinning!

    Starting to shape up nicely Jay!
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    Villa Clara Press Release

    Luis Islas rejoins Diego Maradona

    1986 World Cup Winner Luis Islas has been named as Diego Maradona's Assistant Manager.

    The former Argentina international has previously worked with Maradona at Fujairah in the UAE. The two were team-mates at the World Cup in 1986 when Islas, a goalkeeper, was just 20 years old and back-up to Nery Pumpido. Eight years later, Islas was the starting choice at USA 94, once more alongside his compatriot.


    (Maradona & Islas together at Fujairah)

    “My coaching team has worked in an excellent way, so I will give all the players everything to go onto the pitch and do their best to be competitive,” said Maradona of Islas, “I want to build a team that balances attack and defence and is capable of confronting any team. I have a great desire for this new challenge and I’m looking forward to it,” he added.*

    Joining Islas and Maradona are seven former Cuban internationals, six of which have Villa Clara in their blood.

    Coaches:

    Ariel Alvarez
    45 year old Alvarez has the most coaching experience, having been Villa Clara's manager prior to Diego Maradona's arrival. Alvarez also has unique experience for a Cuban footballer - he has already played abroad. During the 1998/99 season he spent half a season at then fourth tier German side Bonner SC, as part of a deal that saw the entire Cuban national side spend time at the club.

    Eduardo Sebrango
    Sebrango is the only Cuban appointment who does not have previous connections with Villa Clara. He does, however, bring vital experience of US Soccer with him. The dual citizenship Cuban-Canadian spent 14 years playing across the North American Soccer League and the United Soccer League for teams including Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact.


    (Sebrango was Cuban Player of the Year in 1997 before emigrating to Canada)


    Scouts:

    All five of Villa Clara's scouts have the club in their blood. Between them, they have a combined 356 international caps for Cuba and have amassed 53 years of playing career for Villa Clara.

    - Yenier Marquez: former Cuban Player of the Year & Most-capped International
    - Odelin Molina: Won the Caribbean Cup with Cuba in 2012
    - Silvio Pedro Minoso: 10 years in Villa Clara's defence with Marquez & Odelin
    - Jose Francisco Reinoso: two-time Olympian & former President of the Cuban FA
    - Alexis Reve: spent his career as Odelin's #2 for both club & country



    (Yenier Marquez with Brazilian Legend Pele and Real Madrid Icon Raul for a press conference
    ahead of a goodwill friendly between New York Cosmos & Cuba's national team)

    Diego Maradona's Shopping List

    It is rare that a manager's transfer targets are so publicly known, but Villa Clara (VC) are a unique case in point. With it made clear that VC will only be recruiting players from the Campeonato Nacional de Fútbol de Cuba, any football fan interested can narrow the pool to about 350 players. However, even football fans may struggle to pin down accurate squad lists. With Wikipedia and even dedicated football site transfermarkt.com by and large out of date and often less than half complete, only those who know where to look will find.**


    Footnotes:
    Spoiler!

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  5. #28
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    looking forward to following VC exploits.....really hope they do well and don't get tonked

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    Press Conference

    “I think we are ready”

    On the eve of Villa Clara’s debut season in US Soccer, Diego Maradona spoke to journalists from around the world in a press conference held in Havana and screened all over the Caribbean Island.


    Enio Echezabal, Juventud Rebelde (EE): We saw Villa Clara face all of the professional teams of Cuba, plus Matanzas and Holguin, in preparation. Were you happy with what you saw?

    DM: Yes, yes, by the end I was happy. We did not win any of our first 4 games but we played 12 games in 15 days, so we had much rotation. But this is a good thing – it was important for me to see all of the players already at Villa Clara and also of all the players on offer in the country.


    (VC didn't win a single friendly by more than a 2-goal margin, but did concede just 2 in their last 7, keeping 5 clean sheets)

    EE: What did you make of the quality in Cuba? For many years it has been a talking point on the island. We often dominate among the Caribbean countries but fall short when we start to play against those in Latin America.

    DM: I am very much relying on the scouts we have here. They know the club and they know the league. I come here knowing neither and I do not wish to pretend I am an expert on Cuban football. A player’s passing, finishing, heading, jumping – I know none of this, to me their attributes are masked, and I will be relying very much on the likes of Molina and the other scouts.

    EE:Much of the set up at the club was done independently of yourself. Do you feel you have the tools to do the job?

    DM: It is true that INDER instated the chairman and the directors, but that would be the case at any team in the world. They put in place two coaches and five scouts and all of them have invaluable experience of Cuban football and Eddy (Sebrango) of US Soccer. But look, still, I said to INDER, “what about Anri? You have to have Anri on board. You see, Anri is the president of a fan club in Zulueta and the guy has more passion than me! Than me! Well at least as much! So I said he needed to be involved and he is. Gol de Cuba, his fan club, are now the official fan club and he will be a spokesperson for the club.


    (El Barbero will pen the club's newsletter that will going out to all fans)

    EE: And your backroom staff – you chose the rest of them, didn’t you?

    DM: Yes, I had complete freedom to fill in the gaps. As you know, Luis (Islas) is my assistant, and I have also added Elkin Sanchez to my coaching staff. He’s been the trainer for the Ecuadorean national team before joining me here. I’ve also brought in two excellent Dutch coaches. The Dutch play such beautiful football. But most important was having not only Islas but also Daniel Bertoni with me.

    EE: Yes, two compatriots both of whom you had much success with during your playing days……

    DM: Exactly, I had two World Cups with Luis and Daniel [Bertoni] and I were together at Napoli as well as the national team. He will work in the scouting department with the Cubans. He will be able to judge whether an excellent Cuban player will be an excellent player in US Soccer.


    (Bertoni (L) & Maradona (R) together at Napoli)

    And now questions from ESPN Latin America……………

    ESPN: Diego, hi. I wanted to ask you about your new players. We are less than a week away from your opening fixture…..

    DM: Jaja, yes! Yes. Miami! Can you believe it? Miami!

    ESPN: Are you pleased with that?

    DM: Well it is sure to become a rivalry. It is a rivalry. Can you imagine the suits sat at their table discussing that. “Villa Clara’s first game, we will show it on TV. It will draw in millions of viewers. I know, let’s have them play Miami!” I bet they were sat at the table playing who’s got the biggest dick.

    ESPN:............it will most certainly get a large TV audience. How much of an advantage do you think it will be having that first game of the season at home?


    (VC's fixture list in full for the Group 3)

    DM: I think the fans can play a massive part in any success we have. I know that is a massive cliché in football but it will have a big impact for us. Our home games will be here in Cuba; how many travelling fans will there be? We must turn Cienfuegos into a fortress. But also when we are away, we won’t be taking many fans at all. Our away support will be Cubans living in the US and then still we do not know how many will come. It may prove that our away following is actually better than many US clubs. Away followings are not big in US Soccer.*

    ESPN: Can we go back to my question on players. Do you feel you have a squad assembled capable of competing in the US?

    DM: I have a squad that will work hard, who are patriotic, who will want to do their country proud. This is what I feel.

    ESPN: You’ve brought in 13 new players to your squad from 7 different teams. Was it a conscious decision to acquire players from as many different provinces of Cuba as possible?

    DM: No, not at all. I have signed the players I have to ensure we are covered in all areas of the field. We were short in the centre, both in midfield and up top; I was also keen to add to the quality we already have. For example, Maikel Reyes was my top priority from day 1. Maikel is well-known in Cuba, in Villa Clara in particular. He’s played abroad, in Mexico and in the Dominican Republic, and after a nasty leg break he was back to recover in Cuba. He’s been at Piñar Del Rio most recently but Villa Clara is where he belongs.


    (The main man?)

    And lastly, we will take a few questions from teleSUR.

    teleSUR: Diego, everybody knows your style as a player, but what can the US audience expect from you as a manager?

    DM: Every team needs both angels and devils and i will make sure this team have theirs. I know the approach I want them to take and how I want them to play, but more than that, no? They are professionals, they do not need me to tell them where to be with the ball and where to be without the ball for every single quadrant on the pitch. So expect freedom. I dream of beautiful football.

    tS: It has been noticed that Villa Clara still have a place allocated in the Campeonato de Cuba. Will you be involved with this side of the club?

    DM: Yes. Every game? Maybe not. It is important that we keep active in Cuba. We aren’t the lucky ones breaking away. We are hoping to be the bridge. For now we will keep playing, albeit with a different part of the squad. It allows us to monitor the talent in the Campeonato and give game time to all of the players we have.

    tS: Good luck, Diego!



    Footnotes:

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    I have better stats than Maikel Reyes and i'm more than twice his age!

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    Gol de Cuba Newsletter #1



    To Our Fans,


    Welcome to the first of what will become a regular newsletter from Gol de Cuba - now Villa Clara’s one and only official fan club.

    My name is Anri, or “El Barbero” as you know, and as President of GdC I will bring you the best reportage and interviews on all things Villa Clara!


    Let me tell you how we performed in preseason!

    Maradona put our boys through a tough workout, let me tell you! They played many games in a short space of time and the club was very efficient in spotting the weaknesses in the team and seeing the talent in the other clubs of our Campeonato to plug it with.

    I am personally very excited to see Zuanzubar and Skull in the first team; two attacking players with smart feet and strong bodies.


    Spoiler!

    For me, our best preseason game was the 2-0 win over Holguin. It was our first consecutive win and it was important that we did that after a poor start to our warm up games.

    It was a very proud moment when we beat Madureira though! 55 years after they beat us and our compadres in front of El Che, they fell when faced with El Diego!


    My fellow Zuluetaños, the game against Miami is a big one indeed! Our first game in US Soccer is the biggest in our history, but to play Miami in it! Dios Mios! Whenever in the season we face them, it will always be the biggest!

    Below you can see my predictions for the starting line up for our first game of the season!

    Hasta siempre la victoria!

    Vamos Zulueta! Vamos Villa Clara!

    El Barbero





    El Barbero's Predicted Line-up and Team vs. Miami FC:
    Spoiler!

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    Villa Clara are yet to kick a ball and there are already players eyeing their escape.

    The PR exercise looks set to backfire already, with several of the senior team reportedly discussing among themselves whether it is “time to move on.” It is a phrase football fans may be familiar with, but for the Cuban players it is almost certainly a euphemism.


    (In 2015, Dario Suarez defected whilst in Charlotte, representing Cuba’s National team in the Gold Cup)

    Miami FC head to the Island in the opening game of the season and will have, should they be allowed to enter, two former Cuban internationals in their ranks - Ariel Martinez and Dario Suarez.
    Both absconded from Cuba’s team camp whilst the side were in Charlotte ahead of a CONCACAF Gold Cup match with Guatemala in 2015.


    (Ariel Martinez defected at the same time as teammate Dario Suarez)

    The game between Miami & VC may be the one and only time the Cuban hosts see their team united in action. Once they’ve stepped foot on free land for that first away game of the season, how many will want to go back to the Island?

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    Ready for footie tournament tomorrow!!

    Paste:

    imgur

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  16. #34
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    Daniel Morejon looks top class already at that age. But why you are not starting with Emmanuel Lopez is beyond me.

    I really hope no players will stay behind in the USA.

    Excellent stuff this Jay, keep up the good work and good luck against Miami!
    Go check out my YouTube channel with lots of CM 01-02 related video's!
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    Matchday #1

    FC Villa Clara vs Miami FC


    It was a sell-out crowd for Villa Clara’s first foray into US Soccer, as they welcomed Paolo Maldini's Miami FC to Estadio Camilo Cienfuegos. Much had been said in the run-up to the season opener, with VC boss Maradona suggesting it was fixed for the drama.

    VC went into the fixture on the back of a 7-game unbeaten streak in which time they had conceded just twice. They were further boosted by just one doubt: 27-year old Yovany Vinent Morejon, who had joined from Havana in preseason, was carrying a thigh strain.

    It was the Cuban hosts who started the brightest, forcing two corners out of Miami inside the opening 3 minutes. Maikel Reyes’ header had forced a save from the ‘keeper but neither of the resulting two corners brought joy.


    (Maikel Reyes had faced the US National Team for Cuba in 2016)

    VC had lined up in a 41131 formation with both wingbacks and wingers given the freedom to advance up the pitch and Maradona had his side playing in a controlled manner, neither too attacking or defensive, keeping their passing mixed and not committing too hard to tackles. They seemed further buoyed by the inclusion of Y.V Morejon, but the midfielder was removed at half-time, looking off the pace and carrying the effects of his thigh strain.
    His side looked comfortable in possession and didn’t feel the need to play high up the field or to press. As shots rained down on the Miami net, it was surely a matter of time before the floodgates opened.


    (VC played with a normal mentality with mixed passing and normal tackling, not choosing to press, play the offside trap, put men behind the ball or counter attack)

    Miami didn’t threaten the VC area once, the closest they came being from a free-kick that struck the wall. With such cutting edge lacking in attack by Miami, a win for the hosts looked to be guaranteed when the visitors had a man sent off after 27 minutes.

    By the full-time whistle, Miami had endured a ferocious assault and yet they came out of it with a point. Whilst Dariel Morejon performed a one-man defensive masterclass for VC (6 tackles & 5 headers won), neither Zuanzabar or Reyes were able to make any of their combined 8 shots count. The shots stats read 14-0 at full-time, but the scoreboard said 0-0 and that’s the one that counts.


    Player Stats:
    Spoiler!


    FT: 0-0, Man of the Match: Dariel Morejon (9)

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  20. #36
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    how they didn't win that game is beyond me!.....more shooting practise please!

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    My Dream is to Return


    In 2015, whilst on international duty for Cuba at the Gold Cup, Dario Suarez walked away from the team as they shopped in Walmart. But he wasn't defecting due to politics.


    As William LeoGrande, a professor of Government at American University and a Latin American expert, says, "most of these people who are defecting are not defecting for political reasons. They're defecting for the obvious economic gain. The embargo is really part of the problem here. If it wasn't for that, a Cuban athlete could come and play professional soccer in the US, maintain his Cuban residency and citizenship, and go back and play for the Cuban national team whenever they wanted to.”

    Suarez at first played for Miami-based amateur side Fortuna SC, but for almost the past two years the striker has been at AFC Ann Arbor in the National Premier Soccer League. There he put in a number of stellar performances such as a 4-goal haul in week 11 of the 2017 season, which landed him the NPSL Player of the Week. It was performances and accolades such as these that eventually attracted Miami FC to acquire his services ahead of the 2018 season.

    In a twist of fate, his first competitive appearance for his new club came in his homeland - the campaign-opening 0-0 draw with Villa Clara.


    It must've been a surreal moment for the former Havana player. “I explained to my father [in 2015] that I wanted to play as a professional; my dream is to return and defend the Cuban team colours," Suarez told Gear Patrol in a November 2016 interview, "I only came to the US to play at my maximum level. My dream is also that the rules will change to allow me to come back and play for the national team at my maximum level; that is the dream of all the Cuban players in the US.”

    LeoGrande, who authored Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington & Havana, has explained that "it would be the best of both worlds.”

    “They'd be able to play professionally in the US and make a great salary as a result of that but also still be able to go home and see their families and play for their national team.”


    But for now, despite Cuba lifting a prohibition on athletes competing abroad, the US embargo prevents players from playing in the US while maintaining their home on the Caribbean island. It doesn't look set to change either: a State Department seminar on Cuba scheduled for last week was cancelled, further highlighting the differences between the department and White House policy when it comes to their neighbour.

    The event, "Cuba under Diaz-Canel," the new Cuban President, looked to be progressive in nature with a number of experts supportive of policies brought in under Barack Obama's administration set to talk. But Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio appears to have influenced its cancellation. One of his staff members said a call had been made to the White House and that Rubio himself believed the event would have undermined Donald Trump's stance on Cuba.

    For Dario Suarez, he is still seeking a fully professional career.

    Footnotes:
    Spoiler!
    Last edited by JayFlo; Yesterday at 06:35 PM.

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    Gol de Cuba Newsletter #2


    Hola compadres!

    What a start to the season our boys have made, let me tell you!

    That 0-0 with Miami, my god, they were lucky. It was amazing to see a full stadium that day and again when we beat OKC Energy 2-1 a few weeks later.
    We have done our country proud so far Zuluetanos, let me tell you! Our first league game on US soil did not disappoint one bit. Taking our strong defence on display versus Miami, we just had to improve our attack when we faced Carolina and my compadres, we did it!

    Maikel Reyes was muy fenomenal up front and scored both our goals and Morejon and Piedra were again fierce defenders of our area. Carolina had just 3 shots all game and for the second fixture on the trot we ensured our opposition were unable to get a shot on target!


    (Maikel Reyes poses for a photo after training)

    As I mentioned above, we won our second home game of the season. OKC Energy from Oklahoma were the visitors and we saw Reyes score his third goal of the season - a wonderful move from the team - and Zuanzabar score his first and collect the Man of the Match award!


    That means, compadres, we are 2nd in our group with 7 points from 9. Charlotte are top with 3 wins from 3 and we play them next month in what will be our fifth and final game in September.

    Other News

    Transfer News

    Off the pitch, we had more good news because Maradona has brought two more players into our team: Raciel Torres from Havana; and Juan Carlos Quintana from Holguin. Torres is a 20-year old midfielder who can play on both wings and through the middle; and Quintana is a 29-year old centre back.


    Spoiler!

    Cuba National Team News

    The latest 26-man squad for the national team was announced this week and 18 players from Villa Clara were called up!

    For many years we have contributed a large share of the players and again this is the case! We can be proud Zuluetanos! On Wednesday 12th September, our boys will play in Havana against the British Virgin Islands in a friendly.


    (Cuba’s u20 team for the World Cup 2019)

    El Campeonato de Cuba

    We have also been fielding a team in the Campeonato and it is my honour to inform you we have been representing Zulueta to the highest degree here too!
    We faced off with Camaguey, Ciego de Avila and Cienfuegos, recording three wins: 1-0, 2-0, and 1-0. We have been fielding a very young team for our domestic games so we can be very proud of our youngsters!

    Results, Fixtures & Table

    US Second Division B - Group 3
    0-0 vs Miami (H)
    2-0 vs Carolina (A)
    2-1 vs OKC Energy (H)



    September's Fixtures
    Toronto II (A)
    Colorado Springs (A)
    Wilmington (A)
    NY Red Bulls II (H)
    Charlotte (H)

    Final Words
    “I have brought beautiful attacking football to your shores already. The goals will follow. I know four is not enough, but it has got us 7 points from 9 this time. Thirty-six shots in three games is what I want to give our fans, but 4 goals from 36 shots is not! I will make us more beautiful.” – Diego Maradona, following the 2-1 victory over OKC Energy.

    I leave you with this from Camilo Cienfuegos, a Commander of the Cuban Revolution, and namesake of our stadium:

    "Vas bien" - "You're doing fine!"

    Hasta siempre la victoria!

    Vamos Zulueta! Vamos Villa Clara!

    El Barbero


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  26. #39
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    excellent write up Jay and really pleasing to see such a great start to the season.

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