The Chilean DT who directed Arabia: “There is evolution; they are brave and orderly”

At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, The Chilean Manuel Suárez worked in the Saudi Arabian National Team. The DT worked as Juan Antonio Pizzi’s technical assistant and had an unforgettable experience. Four years later, the coach enjoyed the distance the triumph of his former coaches against Argentina in the World Cup in Qatar.

“It was special to see footballers that I was lucky enough to train and who were on the field today. They are players who have talent and who are fast. The shortcoming was strength and power, but the work of his coach (Hervé Renard) has been very interesting”, Suárez analyzed in a conversation with AS.

– What did you think of the meeting?

– I really liked the proposal against Argentina and it caught my attention: it was a brave, orderly team, with an advanced defensive line and leaving no space for Argentina to start the game in the background. It was entertaining and seeing this Arabia was engaging.

– It coincided with several of them…

– Yes, there were six of the starters: Mohammed Al-Owais (goalkeeper), Yasir Al-Shahrani (left-back), Ali Al-Bulaihi (centre-back), Mohamed Kanno (midfielder), Salman Al-Faraj (midfielder) and Salem Al -Dawsari (midfielder), the one who scored the goal. On the bench there were others who participated in the payroll.

– How would you describe Salem Al-Dawsari? He scored against Egypt in the last game of the World Cup last…

– Yes, in the match we won. He is a very talented and quality guy. He is fast and skilled, as we saw today. In the play of the goal, two defenders were removed and in the diagonal he finished off open to the goal of Argentina.

– He spent a year at Villarreal, but almost always played in the local league. How is the tournament in Saudi Arabia?

– It has less rhythm than the major leagues in Europe, but it has talented players. It is economically powerful and therefore, footballers decide to be there for a matter of life, it is easier for them. The Arab world has a different lifestyle from the Western world and they are more comfortable there.


– Is Saudi Arabia more competitive than it seems?

– By history, Saudi Arabia is one of the most successful and the one with the most scrolls among the Arab countries. Today we are seeing it worldwide, but in the Asian Cup they are always fighting for the title.

– In Russia 2018 they defeated Egypt and fought with Uruguay, and now they defeated Argentina. Is it a global leap?

– I think it’s part of a process and it has to do with today’s coach and with the proposal. On the payroll of 26 there are about 13 footballers who participated in the World Cup in Russia. Now they have more experiences and experiences. That helps the young guys to adapt to the way that is giving them success today. I am happy to see these footballers because I directed them and because they have evolved.

– What memories do you have left, beyond football?

– It was a remarkable life experience. I got to know another culture, different from ours. We had to adapt to that and that is enriching. In football, too. I lived a World Cup and that is very little given to Chilean coaches. The players are respectful and everything was very nice.

Suárez’s career as DT

Manuel Suárez began his career this year at the head of a coaching staff. The Chilean left in Cortuluá in Colombia, where he coached until May: “I was there and now I’m waiting for a door to open for me to continue my career as a coach. In Chilean soccer? Hopefully it will be like that.”