Guatemala futsal head coach Tomas de Dios Lopez (pictured) offers instruction during a recent national team training session.
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – After his side captured the Central American qualifying title on Sunday, Guatemala head coach Tomas de Dios Lopez voiced hope that the achievement paves the way for success in the CONCACAF Futsal Championship.
On the strength of a three-goal performance by Jonatan Arevalo, the host Chapines defeated Panama, 8-4, in the final at the Domo Polideportivo.
"It was a tough game, a competitive game,” de Dios Lopez said. “Panama has been a worthy rival. It competed in all aspects. This means that the region is growing.”
Guatemala posted an overall record of 4W-0D-0L, scoring 34 goals and allowing nine.
"Congratulations to the boys because they had great intensity," expressed Lopez, who quickly added that there is room for improvement: "Later, we’ll make them see that we made a lot of defensive mistakes and we have to get better.”
Lopez was handed the Guatemala coaching reins January 2015 and has invigorated a squad that is seeking a place in its fourth FIFA Futsal World Cup, after competing in 2000 (host), 2008 and 2012.
"It's a great blend because we have given young players veteran responsibility,” the 55-year-old Spaniard commented. “The energy and power of youth has rubbed off on the veterans.”
Before traveling to Costa Rica for the CONCACAF competition in May, de Dios Lopez is looking to hold a training camp in Spain and compete in a tournament in the United States.
"We hope to get better before arriving at CONCACAF and deserve to do what we have done before: raise another title,” he finished. "Not only do we want to qualify for the World Cup, we wish to work with young people.”