Saturday, January 15, 2011

Central American video to promote cup is pretty good

This is the best add I have seen for the Central american cup. It highlights Panama national stadium and a few of the teams.

Ok the games have started and so far no big surprises. Panama the host beat Belize 2-0, El Salvador beat Nicaragua 2-0 in Group A. More than likely Panama and el Salvador will go through and qualify for the Gold Cup 2011. I am happy Belize has fielded a competative team unlike past tournaments....They still have a long way to go. Their GK put on a great show with his many saves.

Costa Rica let the 3 points slip away surrendering a goal to Honduras thus having a 1-1 tie. This hopefull will give guatemala some inspiration and Honduras and Costa Rica play thigh. The 2 best teams sre still Costa Rica and Honduras in this group.....
No one wants to be third and miss the knockout phase...

The stats indicate this was a trible header. The earlier games only has 2000 but the Panama has 10,000 spectators.....Well Panama has to have a better showing in the Gold Cup is ever to be rotated to the Central American region....just thinking...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Panama getting ready to host Cup

Panama countdown to the American Cup began on Sunday, January 2.

The countdown to the national team coached by Julio Dely Valdes to the American Cup which starts on 14 January at the Rommel Fernandez Stadium, began on Sunday, January 2 with the first practice of 2011 at the Sports City.

The morning practice was attended by 26 players, began in the gymnasium of Ceara, where the players did an excellent job. Then, the training moved to the training pitch Ernesto 'Cascarita' Tapia, where he first became a regenerative work of 15 minutes of jogging under the supervision of trainer.

After ompleting this part of the training, the players went to perform “the balloon” coached by Julio Dely Valdes, specifically in small spaces. For its part, goalkeepers Jaime Penedo, Kevin Melgar and Eric Hughes performed the reaction centers to the area and going out with hands and feet under the supervision of Donaldo Gonzalez and Gaspar Pérez.

The other players who attended the practice were Gabriel Torres, Armando Cooper, Mark Sanchez, Robert Brown, Eduardo Dasent, Leonel Parrish, Luis Renteria, Juan Perez, Adolfo Machado, Eybir Bonagas, Eric Davis, Harold Cummings, Anibal Godoy, Ricardo Buitrago Edwin Aguilar, Victor Herrera, Jean Carlos Cedeño, Alejandro Velez, Román Torres, Martín Gómez, Aramis Haywood, Gabriel Gomez and Amilcar Henríquez.

Cooper was the only player who did not participate in the movements with ball caution when presenting mild discomfort in his right knee.

Panama will have a big advantage of not traveling and playing in front of their home crowd. They will be entering the tournament very confident. They reached the final in El Salvador (2007) and lost in a shoot out to Costa Rica. They next tournament (2009) they again reached the Final and finally won again their new Arch rival Costa Rica. This years tournament they will be showing off their newly refurbished national Stadium. The Panama fans will expect their team to reach the final again playing at home. Anthing less will be a disappointment to the fanes.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Central American Cup- Nations

The Central American Cup

I enjoy following the Central American Cup. This tournament
was previously called the UNCAF Cup, which nobody could follow. Now the name reflects the tournament, The Central American Cup. This tournament has been dominated by 2 nations in the past. Costa Rica (28 wins) and Honduras (24 wins) have been the 2 best in this tournament. However it has been the Tico’s who have the Championships. Then Guatemala and El Salvador who have 19 and 15 wins respectively. There has been a big gap between the top teams and the middle teams in the past. Panama and Nicaragua trail the bigger nations win 10 and 4 wins respectively. Belize is still searching for their first win.
We could say this tournament has been dominated by Costa Rica. Costa Rica has been in every championship game except one (1995). The Tico’s have won a record 6 Cups. This is more than all the other Central American nations combined. They have the best national team (IMHO) and the best domestic league. Costa Rica has a population at roughly 4.5 Million and they consider soccer their number #1 sport. Costa Rica is not only a Central American power but one of the top team in CONCACAF. They are the only Central American and for that matter Caribbean nation to make the hex each of the last 4 cycles. The Tico’s set the bar in Central America. They are coached by Argentine Ricardo La Volpe. La Volpe has coached at least 10 of Mexican top clubs and was the Mexican national coach 2002-2006. He has a wealth of experience and will look to get a Championship under his belt in Panama this month. The Tico’s will want to reestablish their dominance over Central American since they lost the last Cup. This did not sit well with the Costa Rican fans. They believe they should win every tournament.
Honduras (Los Catrachos) has won the Central American Cup in 1993 and again in 1995. They reached the final again in Guatemala but lost to their rival Costa Rica. Honduras has seen great stability from 2006-2001 when Rinaldo Rueda (Columbian) coached them on their most successful run in history. Los Catrachos not only reached the Hex but qualified the first World Cup since 1982 Spain. Los Catrachos will be coming into this tournament with loads of confidence. They played the best in the World and now believe they should be the top team in the region. They will have to do it with a new coach. Mexican (Juan de Dios Castillo) has coached the top teams in Honduras and know a lot about Honduran soccer. He will be in charge to lead this talented group in Panama.
Guatemala has over 14 Million in its population which is about double the other Central American nations. Guatemala has reached the final 5 times but only winning one Championship. Their Championship was against Costa Rica and it was played in Honduras. That was 11 years ago. Guatemala has a good domestic league but it is top heavy. Communications and Municipal dominate the league. This is not good for the league however these teams do very well in the Champions League. 2005 was Guatemala big chance to win the Central American Cup when they hosted. However they did not make the final game. Their coach now is Ever Hugo Almeida (Paraguay). Almeida took over in 2010, like many other coaches throughout the region and the World. He will try to get Guatemala back on top in the region. They are in the hard group with Costa Rica and Honduras.

Panama is the best story for me. They busted onto the soccer scene in the 2005 Gold Cup. Los Canaleros knocked off South Africa and Columbia in that Gold Cup. They reached the final and tied the host (USA), they only lost in the shootout. Then there was the $19 Million investment into Rommell Stadium. The entire country is proud of this huge stadium and look to host a great tournament. Panama, finally is the 4th CA nation to play in the final. The final games had only 3 nations (Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala) in the Championship game prior to 2007. Panama wins their first ever Central American Cup in 2009. This was great for Central America to have another quality nation that has raised the competition in the region and with in CONCACAF. They will be playing at home and their fans will surely turn out. They are in the easiest group of El Salvador, Nicaragua and Belize. I expect them to make the final again.

Nicaragua is a slowly improving nation. They do not have the resources as the other Central America countries. They are doing it the right way. The coach was Ramone Olivas (Nicaragua) but now he is an understudy. The head coach is a Spaniard named Enrique Llena. Llena was also put in charge at the beginning of 2010. Llena is in charge to organize the entire Nicaragua soccer structure. He will overlook all aspects of the Nicaragua Soccer Organization. He oversees the pro league, the national team and the youth teams. He is trying to install professionalism throughout Nicaragua. Nicaragua did beat Guatemala in the last Central American Cup however they will not be taken lightly this year tournament. It will be an upset if they make the Gold Cup but than again anything can happen.

Belize is the smallest Central America country. Belize also has the smallest population at about 300,000 people. Belize is the only country that speaks English as its national language. Records indicate Belize has never won a game in this Cup. However they have only started playing recently. They have only played 17 games compared to over 40 for Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. They are coached by

Copa Centrolamericana

Seven Central American nations begin their mission to earn one of five berths in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup with the January 14 start of the Copa Centroamericana in Panama.

Formerly known as the Copa de Naciones de UNCAF, Panama will seek to repeat as champion while Costa Rica will aim for a seventh title.

Played exclusively in Panama City's Rommel Fernandez Stadium, the tournament will kick off with a tripleheader that includes El Salvador vs. Nicaragua, Costa Rica vs. Honduras and Panama vs. Belize.

The final, as well as third-place game, will be played Sunday, January 23.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Central American Cup 2011

The Last few Central American Cups

The 2007 Central American Cup was in El Salvador. El Salvador put on a good tournament at Cuscatlan Stadium. El Salvador was placed in a group with Guatemala, Nicaragua and Belize. El Salvador won its group for the first time in history with 7 points. Unfortunately they went against powerful Costa Rica and were knocked out in the semi-finals. When they played for 3rd place they were again beat at home by Guatemala 1-0. This however was a good sign for El Salvador soccer. They are playing the powers of Central American in a lot closer than in the past. This tournament was an awakening for Panama. This was the first time a nation other than Costa Rica, Honduras or Guatemala made the Championship game. Panama changed the dynamics of the entire tournament. Panama tied Costa Rica in the final but lost in the shootout.
The 2009 tournament was suppose to be played in Panama but the remodeling of Rommell was not finished. Costa Rica was ready but Honduras and Guatemala placed the bids to host again. Honduras won and the tournament was staged in Tegucigalpa. 20k turn out to watch the host play which is a record in attendance. It is a record since no other records for attendance existed. Honduras was knocked out by Panama. Panama went on to win their first ever international tournament. Now Panama can contend and beat the heavy weights of the region.
The 2011 tournament will be played in Panama. Panama invested $19 Million to renovate Rommell stadium in Panama city. It is a beautiful stadium and ready to host the largest event they can. This stadium will only sell out for World Cup qualifiers and this tournament. Panama is an up and coming soccer nation that is adajacent to South America where soccer is almost a religion. Panama has been playing some top competition to get ready for this. They want to reach the final again and show off Rommell.