José Pekerman's World Cup Diary: 'Futbal it will be challenges...but in Colombia we used to hot seats'

Columbia's Jewish manager shares his thoughts


By Jose Pekerman, June 12, 2014
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Jose Pekerman (Photo: AP)

Jose Pekerman (Photo: AP)

Hola, my good friends in Great Britain and welcome to my World Cup diary in which I will give you all the exclusivo news from the Colombia squad here in Brazil.

Maybe you not know too much about me. I am futbal manager from Argentina now live and manage team Colombia. OK first muchos apologias for my English. All this column goes through Google Translate so is possibles I make a few boobies. However, we all speak same language and that is futbal (and a bit of Yiddish — as you know I am the only Jewish manager in the Mondial).

We are , how you say, the seedy team in our group and my new country expects us go to last 16. Is a bit scary, particularly when you remember that Colombian Andre Escobar was murdered after scoring own goal in 1994 World Cup.

Put it this way, I will be muchos careful with my substitutiones.

And if we are knocked out in the group stage I make aliyah pronto.

Our squad is in a good condition. Unfortunately, I can not say same about myself. We come down from big altitude in Bogota to the tropics and as I expected I now have a nasty head-cold.

Everyone focuses on Aldo Leao Ramirez who got injured in our last friendly game but the official doctor is spend all his time with me. I hope oxygen tent in hotel room will help out.

All our boys, except star striiker Falcao, in good spirits. He become injured playing for his club in France with the knee. I not trust the French since the Dreyfuss Affair and I have suspicion of the antisemitismo over this injury.

I hear about and I know instantly the boy is not fit for Mondial – oy vey. Still, the rest of the boys are in good spirit here in Belo Horizonte. I have my cook give them plenty chicken soup and kneidlach — best against malaria — and we have brought our stash of special Colombian powder which keeps the boys alert . . . coffee

So how do I feel ? Well as nervous as I was the day before my barmitzvah. And by coincidence we play Greece in Shabbat. I hope Hashem not mind too much – I walk to stadium ok? Our last friendly against Jordan was good although I feel bit like single Jew against the Arab Legion. But like 1967 Israeli team we surround them and win. You probably know a few players from Colombia’s past. There was Valdarama with the crazy hair, Asprilla with the crazy head and Rene Higuita with the crazy scorpion kick. My team no give me that kind of tsores I hope, just a good attacking progressive futbal. My formation is a special one, 4-2-2-2 (not four by two, ha ha).

I wish England also good luck in the competition (unless we play you of course). I meet Roy Hodgson some time ago — you no think he sound a bit Jewish? Anyway, now I go to make the kiddush and prepare for el gran partido manana.

As imagined by Simon Round

Last updated: 1:33pm, June 30 2014