Brazil have long been the pre-eminent force in South American women’s youth football, having now qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup six times as continental champions.
As that record proves, there is plenty of quality for Brazilian coaches to work with. Yet the immediate challenge facing Doriva Bueno Pacheco, the man who will take the country’s U-20 women’s side to Canada 2014 following his appointment in May, is to marry that natural talent with tactical organisation and discipline.
“We don’t have much time to work with, but I can sense an improvement since our first get-together,” he told FIFA.com. “Our aim is to work on tactics and shape a really well organised team out on the pitch. Brazil are a major force in South America, and this team has been playing together for a while. I’m looking to build on the understanding that already exists between the players to bring in some new aspects that I see as essential to the team’s balance.”
Doriva began his playing career with XV de Novembro de Jau and won the Sao Paulo U-17 state title with them during his eight-year stay with the club. After then playing for a number of clubs in Sao Paulo’s state, he moved into coaching, taking charge of XV de Jau and working with Corinthians’ youth teams before moving to the Middle East.
“I’ve come straight from the men’s game and I want to help women’s football become more professional,” he said, discussing his latest career aims.
One tough missionDoriva has been handed the most daunting of assignments at Canada 2014, with Brazil having been drawn in Group B alongside world powers and Japan 2012 finalists USA and Germany, not to mention the equally formidable China PR. Rather than be daunted by the challenge awaiting his side, however, the Brazil coach is motivated by it.
“Every side is strong, including Brazil, but they all have their weak points too,” Doriva, who believes France, Korea DPR and hosts Canada can also go far in the tournament, explained. “There are some big games there, no question, but we’re putting together a competitive and balanced side that can progress.”
While acknowledging Brazil’s strength has traditionally been its attacking play, the coach stressed the importance of organisation and balance in every sense, a point he has been repeatedly making to his players.
“What really matters is having a tactically organised side that is also on an even keel in an emotional sense,” he said, illustrating that point. “We’re trying to analyse what each player has to offer, select the best 21 and build a balanced side. What we’re aiming to do is create a real ‘team’, in which everyone thinks about what’s best for the side and where there’s tactical discipline and team spirit.”
Voicing his agreement with France coach Gilles Eyquem’s assessment that Canada 2014 will be a great showcase for women’s football, Doriva signed off by saying: “We’ve got the Olympics coming up in Brazil in 2016 and some of our players could be competing there. We’ve even had the women’s senior team coach Vadao (Oswaldo Alvarez) along to watch us train and play.
“The U-20 side has always been an excellent testing ground for young players looking to make it to A Seleção. The goalkeeper Leticia Izidoro is a good example of that. She’s already spent quite a bit of time with the A team and there’s no doubt that’s been a source of motivation for her.”