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"Talent development is difficult these days; health is our priority", says Eduardo Batista from the Palmeiras Academy

23.07.2020 18:30

The last champions would rather be in Prague, to fight for another back-to-back CEE Cup title and prepare for the next football season in Brazil. Unfortunately, the coronavirus did not only stop the CEE Cup from going forward, but it has also greatly hindered the training and development of the Palmeiras youngsters. Players are forced to practice at home and the club stadium is now serving as a makeshift hospital in a country where millions of people have been infected. Eduardo Batista and his colleagues are working hard on finding a safe way to return to football.


What is the current situation like in Brazil due to Covid-19?

"We are cautiously moving towards a return to normal routines in Brazil. Cases have been decreasing in Sao Paulo, but increasing in other states; Brazil is a continental country".


How is the club and its academy managing the situation?

"We stopped all activities since March and we're giving full support to players and families".


What type of restrictions did you enact?

"We stopped all training and we will start to gradually return only when we are certain that everyone can be safe; lives are more important than football".


The adult category has restarted competitions in the Rio de Janeiro district despite the million who are ill and the still present danger of the coronavirus. What are your thoughts about this?

"Our first team came back earlier this July with authorization from the state and health secretary. We're respecting all health protocols".


So, what about the U20, U19 and U18 categories?

"The President of the CBF announced that the U20 will be allowed to return to playing on September 23. During the first team training sessions, we bring in 7 players from the U20 (on a rotation basis) as a sort of “support group”. This allows to keep the U20 team in shape and thus be ready for when they return to full activities. As always, though, safety comes first".


Is the Palmeiras club involved in any charitable work within the community?

"In connection with the health agencies, the club offered full access to the Allianz Parque so that it could be used for testing and other Covid-19 related medical needs".


Have any of the players been affected by the coronavirus?

"The seven players who train are quarantined in the hotel with weekly tests. Fortunately, only three have been diagnosed with Covid-19, and the have already recovered fully".


What are the challenges when working with talents nowadays? Is the preparation harder or different? If so, how much and in which way?

"Currently, our only concern is everyone's health. We are doing everything to comply with all health protocols needed to revive football in our club and region. In other words, we will return to full-fledged work with our talents later".


Surely, you have been following Joao Felipe’s adventure with Slavia Praha; what are your thoughts?

"We watched the matches with the Youth Academy and then, recently, his debut in the first team. We were very happy, since we know João Felipe has potential, though he will need a little time to mature as a player; in the end, I believe he will be very successful at Slavia".


Palmeiras raised many famous players, such as Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Zé Roberto. Who will be the next top talent from your academy to next be on the road to Europe? Which is his strongest abilities?

"Our forward, Fernando, and center-back, Vitão, recently moved to Shakhtar Donetsk, where they became national champions. Fernando is fast, skillful; Vitão has played for Brazil’s U15, U17 and U20 and he is modern defender, very technical. Then there’s goalkeeper Daniel Fuzato who plays for Roma (ITA), right-back João Pedro in Porto (POR), left-back Luan Candido in Red Bull Leipzig (GER) and finally, defensive midfielder Natan in FC Zürich (CH)".
Tagy: eduardo batista    palmeiras    brazil    2019   


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