By Xabi Gómez
How did you get started in the water polo André?
I started very young with this, in a very small city in Brazil. I was about 10 years. Remembrance beginning illusion.I fell in love for the sport and its people! Soon I realized that I liked to be running in the pool playing. I think that was bad (laughs).
What were your beginnings on the bench?
I started coaching 18 years after I entered college and a few years later I realized that the water polo in Brazil was very simple, very small and I decided to go to Barcelona with the help of many friends I’ve met in this world.
In Barcelona you spent several years in different clubs …
First was Toni Esteller who opened the doors of CN Barcelona, I was a season. Then Santi Fernández gave me a cable and I joined the team of Barceloneta with tasks videos. There I grew as a coach and taking on more responsibilities. I did a master of High Performance Team Sports with Rafa Aguilar and Quim Colet. After this I got an offer from Manolo Suarez CN Sant Andreu to do a wonderful job and that we be runners of Spain.
Training, stay, diets … you really love this sport
You don’t know what I’ve done to coach in Barcelona !. I was a waiter at dawn when working with Esteller, I have been selling butane (laughs) … For water polo I did everything and I do not regret anything. I have been very happy.
What role have played in your life social networks?
They have given me life. Thanks to that I returned to my country. For me it is very important to have that connection to the players and everyone can see that we are progressing, which in Brazil is able to trade. Here we have no shirt, swimwear, goals. We do it all.
You went to Brazil some years ago, didn’t you?
Right. I received a very interesting to go back to my city Sao Paolo offer and here I am working with a structure thousand children ten and eighteen coaches pools. A very big challenge.
Infrastructure, many kids and coaches … How has that been possible in just a few years?
Brazilian industries pay for the children of workers may have public schools. Some of them have sports facilities and become club. One day our president, had the idea of making waterpolo at school because her son played well. Then we drove across the state of Sao Paolo. Nine cities.
And how’s overall water polo in Brazil?
Here there is no culture of water polo and Europe. This is not Partizan or Barcelona. No coaches. We have to work with coaches also from the base. It is very difficult to attract people from outside, to see that see that there is still nothing. Yet in Sao Paolo we are one of the references of the country and work closely with the Federation to develop the sport.
I imagine that Brazil will be a giant room for improvement and increase competitiveness …
We can improve more. We have some players who are professionals and invest. Pinheiros has also attracted several professional quality, Paulistano also Popovic. We are working, but we are three or four clubs in Sao Paolo and Rio Janeiro then there are two more. But there is nothing else in the country. We are the spearhead. New ideas, new tactics, trying to innovate constantly.
Will there be a before and after in Brazil after Rio 2016?
Good question. The federation is absolutely investing everything in the Olympics. Do not skimp on anything. Hours of work, money … but nobody has thought about what will happen after Rio. As a coach I worry about the after because it is what we are working.
What do you think about the nationalization that the federation is doing?
Nationalization I see if the lens are medals. Olympics at home does not have forever. We at SESI work only with Brazilians. We played against Botafogo with four foreigners, Fluminense with two … work the quarry. We tried to assume a responsibility that the federation has not seen as important and we do. Training of trainers and create new structures to be more competitive. There we are.
Coaches work with people. With children. We teach you step by step what the competition is. Is obviously a labor of many people.
And what do you think of BIWPA for younger progress?
It is important. It is an opportunity also for many kids to feel in this world of competition. Must know what is really water polo. Train in the morning, afternoon train. The player has to feel at least once as a star, working in the CAR, living with the players of the Spanish team. Receiving visits from professionals. It is very important.
Barcelona also plays an important role …
That’s incredible. You have water polo seven days a week. Saturday league, and even the big European champions with. Here is not that. Two months of play quality games. The rest a month in China, another month training with another Brazilian club … it’s complicated.