Jose Anselmo Moreno |
Valladolid (EFE).- The Valladolid coach Manuel Retamero has worked in ten countries as a coach or sports director and, although I couldn’t say if he is the most international Spanish coach, he tells stories that are only within the reach of a true globetrotter and that they have happened to him in countries as far away as India, Mongolia, Guinea, Libya, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait or Cambodia, where he is now.
Traveling along the path of football, he has been accumulating experiences and learning languages: English, Italian, Polish, Arabic and even his daughter Silvia, who has accompanied him in some destinations, already has notions of several of them. One day she caught her speaking in Arabic while she was playing in a park.
The dream of the coach from Valladolid was to be a sports journalist, but first he was a player and then a wandering coach, who accumulates a universal story full of adventures, to the point that he is currently working on a book, half with a journalist, in which methodological aspects of soccer are combined with human stories. In short, football and life.
Recalling his experiences for EFE, he recounts that the pandemic hurt him a lot, since he had to return from his experience in Guinea when the competition stopped.
Before his international tour, he trained, among others, Real Valladolid B, Íscar, Betis de Valladolid, Arces and La Granja from Segovia and, of his international experiences, that of Mongolia stands out, where he was runner-up in the League and Cup and Super Cup champion at in front of Ulaanbaatar City.
Mongolia and Cambodia
Until arriving in Mongolia, along with Cambodia the “calmest and least stressful” country where he has worked, Retamero passed through his most troubled destination in 2014: Libya. After several months unemployed, he couldn’t take it anymore and he left his house in Villanubla (Valladolid) to go far, far away.
It was then that he landed in Tripoli to become technical director of Al-Ittihad, the most successful club in Libya. At the age of 39, far from his home and from his newborn daughter, he began a story in which he lived through brutal experiences.
He knew where he was going. It had not been long since Gaddafi’s death and just coinciding with his arrival a war began although, in the midst of that conflict, he also appeared football.
Retamero was in a city where weapons were everywhere, even in his hotel. He says that he was received at the airport with flowers, he did not even pass customs control, but once in the taxi he saw the bad situation in the country and thought about it, but decided to go ahead.
He heard the noise of the shots every day, the club was located next to Parliament, where problems arose and he even recounts that in a match, he heard shots and, suddenly, people fleeing crossed the field, one had a shot in one leg and the game continued, as if nothing had happened.
To move around the country, he had to go through the usual police controls in which three words opened all doors for him: Spanish, Javier and Clemente. The Basque coach was then the national coach and an idol for the Libyans.
«When they saw my passport, they asked if I was more from Barcelona or Madrid and then they told me about Javier Clemente. That way I could continue on my way without many problems », he says.
He also recounts that at the embassy they took special care of him and pampered him, he even went jogging with the officials in the morning.
An offer from Bahrain ended his Libyan adventure before things got worse. In Bahrain he lived two stages. The first, as U-19 coach and sports director of the federation. The second, after a brief stay in the United States and India, as coach of Budaiya.
Contrasts in Bahrain
He says that in Bahrain there is luxury but also many social differences, there is the Arab with money and then the lowest social class, people who flee their countries to work and who have very low salaries. “Most are Thai or Bangladeshi,” she says.
In his second stage in the country, he verified that the conditions he had agreed to were not met and he left. As soon as he left, he had an offer to train in Mongolia. He did not hesitate to accept.
Before Mongolia, he lived a brief period in India at the helm of Aizawl, which he managed to promote to Liga I by winning the championship. There he is a hero and they still ask him to come back.
“They invited me to church and they claimed that there were no games on Sundays because the church came first for them and that day the mass lasted the whole day, no other things were done,” he says.
And from there to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, with temperatures that reached 30 degrees below zero. He assures that in Mongolia they are very fans and that there are many followers of Real Madrid.
He says that one day the president of the club gave him a piece of paper with a suggestion of alignment and style of play, but he did not accept it. “There they immediately label you as a tiki-taka because they value Spanish football a lot, but at a methodological level they lack a lot,” he says.
A powerful league, for example, says that it is the one in Egypt, there he went to work as technical director of an academy, they announced it through networks and they stopped him on the street to tell him that they were going to take their children when a coach arrived from Spain . He then verified that the Spanish coaches were acquiring a lot of prestige, especially after the World Cup in South Africa.
He says that all experiences are enriching, although he sometimes experienced very dramatic situations: “Boys who begged me for alms because they didn’t have enough to eat or came to try the club with broken shoes, tremendous things.”
He concludes by saying that “when you return to Valladolid you value what you have more”, although he qualifies that he is always willing to pack his bags. From far offers he has refused Jordan as he traveled and did not see it clearly.
At the beginning of the year he returned to Cambodia, where he will continue. He admits that the quality of life and tranquility there are immense and concludes that “it is a good place to live.” However, he maintains his dream of returning to work in Spain even though his name, one of the most common in Spain, has already sounded across four continents. And what remains. EFE