Gary Stempel has in his hands a Panamanian soccer team based on world cup players, that including other high-profile elements, can be the best kept secret of Panamanian soccer, in what can be called the beginning of the road to the Qatar World Cup 2022.
The Anglo-Panamanian coach, winner of the UNCAF Nations Cup in 2009 with Panama and the only important title in the Central American country, in the friendly duel of September 11 against Venezuela, will have the role of a chemist: looking for the best formula for the team's good return to competition.
Stempel in his first appearance this week before the local and international press said "there would be variants" and "the 4-4-2”, signature formation of all the coach’s teams “would not play".
The workouts and players Stempel has at hand show the opposite.
On the second day of training, Stempel himself took charge of moving and training the line of defenders.
Four could be seen in the background, only the components changed. In one Román Torres was seen with Fidel Escobar in the center, Francisco Palacios and Kevin Galván on the wings, while in the other team of defenders Fidel with Chin Hormechea were seen in the center, Galván and Michael Amir Murillo in the lanes.
In the central area, Stempel has two fixed players. Among those who had a world cup-class taste is Anibal Godoy, while the other would be Cristian Martínez, a more offensive midfielder, but who also knows how to remove balls and put his foot down when it comes to fighting for the ball.
The other two components, the offensive midfielders are yet to be fixed.
José Luis Rodríguez and Miguel Camargo, both with an offensive projection and with a goal under their belts, are portrayed as the perfect link with Stempel's offensive line.
Rodríguez and Camargo, can arrive to the penalty area with scoring opportunities, also serve good balls, which can be used by the strikers and defenders who come up on dead ball situations.
The departure of Blas Pérez and Luis Tejada, two references of the Panamanian forward, leaves Panama in the insatiable search for its replacements in the attack.
Gabriel Torres, a World Cup finisher with Panama in Russia 2018, and Rolando Blackburn are called to complete the perfect formula for the Panamanian coach.
Both forwards do not collide, because their style of play is different.
Blackburn is a free-kick header and knows how to position himself in the penalty area, that is to say that in the descent of Galván and Murillo to throw centers will be very recurrent.
On Wednesday, in a group of four players, emphasis was placed on the centers, at different heights, to the penalty area.
Torres knows how to play well on the floor and will have the support of the attacking midfielders, when they join the Panamanian attack, floor plays.
Finally, the easiest component to add to the formula is the goalkeeper; Luis "Manotas" Mejía must take care of the Panamanian goal in this friendly duel.
By September 11, Stempel will have a periodic table full of Panamanian players hungry to be shown to the world, but surely the Anglo Panamanian already has his formula defined in order to win the first game of the Panamanian team, after a bittersweet World Cup debut in Russia.
Rogelio Adonican Osorio