Categories: Sport

COUNTDOWN 20: Costly hopes to inspire Honduras on the world stage

When a player moves from one continent to the other and continues to play regularly, it is hoped that the experience gathered will rub off on his country in big tournaments.

That is exactly what would be expected of journeyman Carlos Costly.

The much-travelled 31-year-old hit man has played in four continents: in Honduras, Mexico, Poland, England, Romania, the United States, Greece and recently, China where he supplied goals for Guizhou Xhicheng.

A very strong character, Costly recently returned to continue his playing career in his homeland, and has led his country’s charge during qualifying, scoring seven goals. It is hoped that his presence for Brazil 2014 will inspire the team to claim its first ever win at the World Cup, after previously missing South Africa 2010, Honduras, struggled due to injury.

The South Africa 2010 debacle in which Honduras failed score a single goal led to the sack of former coach Reinaldo Rueda, and a rocky period ensued. However, the appointment of Luis Fernando Suarez in March 2011 injected fresh life and stability to the national set-up. Just like every other coach, Rueda kicked out troublesome players Carlos Pavon and veteran Amado Guevara, and went in search of his own men. This the Colombian native achieved by delving into the nation’s youth set-up, coaching the Under-23 team at the London Olympics and drafting in much of the promising youngsters to rejig the national team.

The 54-year old-coach has previous World Cup experience as manager of Ecuador at the Germany 2006 World Cup, where he masterminded a 2-0 win over Poland, so he will be looking to take another scalp in this tournament with the Central Americans. Making their World Cup debut in 1982 where they posted creditable draws against European giant, Spain and Northern Ireland, Los Catrachos went into football wilderness only to return in 2010 and now they enjoy consecutive World Cup appearance for the first time.

Qualifying for the tournament was quietly undertaken, epitomised by the coach’s preference for sound and low-key preparations. Hondurans qualified with relative ease and added a landmark win at Mexico to their profile.

The team’s average age is over 30 years, and it is populated by mostly unknown players plying their trade in the Americas, notably Honduras and USA. However, they do have players based in Europe who have rubbed shoulders with the best, save Maynor Figueroa, Wilson Palacios and Emilio Izaguirre who are based in the United Kingdom.

Strength

Hard to beat and usually fit for the duration of a game, Honduras’ defensive approach sees them soak up pressure while they look to pick off opponents when they are tiring towards the end of games, also exploiting set-piece situations, which they rarely concede from. The weather in Brazil would also suit the team perfectly, as they have delivered their best performances in difficult conditions of heat and altitude.

Weakness

Indiscipline, signposted by New England Revolution’s player, Jerry Bengtson’s walking out on the team for not given sufficient playing time. Also, they lack enough fire power to hurt the big teams, as playing scoreless draws might not be enough to reach the Round-of-16 at the World Cup.

Last line

Scoring goals should be the team’s major objective at the Mundial. If they can, they could spring a surprise or two.

 

 

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Sunday Omeike
Tags: Amado GuevaraBrazilCarlos CostlyCarlos PavonChinaEmilio IzaguirreEnglandGreeceGuizhou XhichengHondurasJerrry BengtsonLondon OlympicsLos CatrachosLuis Fernando SuarezMaynor FigueroaMexicoNew England RevolutionNorthern IrelandPolandReinaldo RuedaRomaniaSouth Africa 2010SpainTheCableUnited KingdomUnited StatesWilson Palacios

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