(Photo: Mexsport)Jorge Luis Pinto (pictured) will guide Honduras into its Olympic Games opener against Algeria on August 4, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
SALVADOR, Brazil – Heading into Thursday’s 2016 Olympic Games opener against Algeria, Honduras head coach Jorge Luis Pinto is feeling optimistic about his team’s chances.
At London 2012, the Catrachos progressed to the quarterfinals, before dropping a narrow 3-2 decision to eventual silver-medalist Brazil. A similar or better finish in Rio is entirely possible, according to the 63-year-old Colombian.
“I feel that the team is in a good sporting moment,” said Pinto. “We have been maturing and perfecting some concepts, giving more emphasis to what we properly want against Algeria.
“All of the matches are key, concentration is vital, and I want my team to be mature tactically at that level. We have talent and a great tactical structure and we are going to take advantage of that.”
The match schedule calls for all three group-stage matches to be played in seven days, meaning that 18-man rosters will be tested. With encounters against Portugal (August 7 in Rio de Janeiro) and Argentina (August 10 in Brasilia) to follow, Pinto emphasized the importance of intelligent squad rotation -- similar to the system Mexico implemented on the way to a gold medal four years ago.
“I feel that here the one who has the best rotation and can change players in order not to deal with fatigue is going to capitalize,” the former Costa Rica manager stressed. “We have the experience of what Mexico did in the last Olympic Games and that is important.”
Pinto has been energized by the experience of preparing a young squad for an international competition.
“The young player works and is teachable,” he finished. “I dreamed of coaching an Olympic team because that class of players, the under-23s, is the university of football. They learn, learn and learn.”