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Hunger, shortage, crisis... Venezuela and their secret reason to win, as told by their manager

Head coach Kenneth Zseremeta of Venezuela gestures during the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Quarter Final match between Mexico and Venezuela at Amman International Stadium on October 12, 2016 in Amman, Jordan. (Photo by Boris Streubel - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
by Veruska Sánquiz, Young Reporter, Venezuela

AMMAN, October 16, 2016 – Venezuela coach Kenneth Zseremeta is delighted to have his team in the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 Women´s World Cup, but every time he speaks to the press, his eyes show sadness among so much joy. “Please turn on the camera or the recorder, Venezuela needs to know what I have to say,” he said to AIPS.

“While we are here in Jordan, playing a World Cup, our country is going through a difficult situation, with so many shadows, so many social gaps... At the moment, our girls’ families are without food and medicine. Social security is an impossible reality in Venezuela. Everything that is happening is a bonus for my squad, as they don’t want to go back empty-handed.”

Venezuela is one of the nations with the highest rate of violence and inflation. Nobody in the country escapes the shortage of goods, food and medicines. Panama-born Zseremeta, who has been living in Venezuela for eight years, called for reflection regarding the Women’s League and the support it deserves.

“We already have a position in women’s world football. All I ask is that I don’t see girls playing in abandoned land anymore, without proper pitches, kits, or goals... Four teams recently withdrew from the league because they don’t have resources. The World Cup is very important for our future," said the coach.

Dark horizons

Zseremeta insisted his side is capable of winning the trophy, but happens after that?

“If we give the World Cup to Venezuelans, what are we going to do with it? Put it in a showcase and say ‘good job,’ as the former president of the Venezuelan Football Federation said to me? This in theory should be the example of how we overcame all these obstacles, not just something that is forgotten. But no matter how far we get in Jordan, I will be grateful to my players,” he underlined.

La Vinotinto’s younger female teams have made a breakthrough since Zseremeta’s arrival. The Panamanian discovered a group of talented girls who decided to play for the love of their colours. But from the coach’s perspective, the players have not enjoyed even the minimum of benefits they deserve.

“I've never personally asked for any riches but simply that my players had all their needs taken care of. It's always a problem . . . But now we need to talk to someone so that everybody recognises what this group of girls have achieved despite coming from a poor level,” he said.

Zseremeta was thankful to the current president of the Venezuelan Football Federation, Laureano González, but indirectly criticised others linked to the national government that made no contribution: “González always believed in my project, he knows that everything we achieved is thanks to his support. I will keep out the names of others who have promised us many things and never fulfilled them. We are still waiting for the support that never came.”

When they face North Korea on Monday in the semi-finals, all eyes will be on star player Deyna Castellanos. “She has an added value. She will not remain at the US college where she plays now for much longer. Deyna will have to migrate to a French team because she is a player with so much quality. The media says that Deyna is Venezuela, but it’s not only that, she’s the reflection of all these girls that today want an opportunity in the country,” he concluded.

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