The Anglo-Panamanian coach Gary Stempel told Efe today it is an honor and a pride to once again lead a national soccer team of Panama, after Fepafut confirmed him as an Interim coach for the two friendly matches scheduled by the Central American team.
"I am happy and proud to return to a major team after nine years. I am very encouraged and motivated to try to form a new generation of players. These are two challenges and obligations that we have to fulfill," said the coach.
He added this call to be at the head of the Panamanian national team "forces me to undertake as much effort as possible in these two games to be played this year".
Stempel will be in charge of Panama in the friendly local duels against Venezuela, on September 11, and against Japan, visiting on October 12 of this year.
"Venezuela is growing and has a very good soccer. The games between Panama and Venezuela are always well played and I see it as a good rival to face. Japan is different, it is a world cup team and strong contender in the last World Cup," he said.
He said that for the game against the Japanese, the contract obliges Panama to play 15 Panamanian soccer players who were in the World Cup.
On the human material he will have, the coach said it will be a mixture of young players and some experienced.
"The ideal would be mixing experienced and young players who were in the World Cup, to watch them playing for 90 minutes. We have to see those guys aged 23, 24 and 25 years, to follow up, because they are the future of our national team, ahead the next knockout and World Cup process," said Stempel.
The coach has always been a visionary, and now he plans to follow up on these young players who would be the future of Panamanian soccer and summon new figures.
"I hope we play a good role. I always come to the national team with the philosophy of promoting young players and giving the opportunity to those who were waiting on the bench," he said.
Despite being in charge of the national team, Stempel does not consider that this is the start of the process for the World Cup in Qatar 2022.
"I do not think we can say this is the beginning of a new process, because the new process will start when the new coach in Panama is hired. It will be up to that coach to start the process towards Qatar World Cup," he said.
The Panamanian coach is one of the most successful in the Central American country.
Stempel 2008 was appointed coach of the team with which he won, the following year, the UNCAF Nations Cup and with which he participated in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He also qualified Panama for its first U-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2003.
At the moment he is the coach of the U-17 team. Therefore, this situation is not a problem to him to coach the major team, and he said it will be planned to carry out the two functions.
"That will depend on the time I have to work with the local players. There is a month left for the game with Venezuela. I can easily work in the morning two or three days (Monday, Tuesday Wednesday) with the biggest team in the week, because they would have to return to their club, and in the afternoon we would work with the U-17," he said.
Stempel said Panama has all the human material to reach another World Cup and coaches do not see it as an obligation to reach a World Cup, but as a challenge.
"We have to get to the next games. We went to the first game and we have the talent to continue qualifying for the World Cup. For coaches it is not an obligation going to the World Cup, but as a challenge to prepare a team to compete," he said.
The coach also called for the fans to continue believing in their team and to maintain the euphoria shown at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where Panamanians left good feelings. EFE
Rogelio Adonican Osorio.