National handball coach Paulo Jorge Pereira said Wednesday that he wants to “make history” at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and ensure that Portugal does not go to Japan “just to eat sushi”.
At the conference, Paulo Jorge Pereira said: “It is a great moment for any athlete and we will try again to make history. Not just being there to eat sushi, we will try again to make history.” Another training day ends in Nazareth, as Portugal prepares for the Olympics.
Despite his enthusiasm for his attendance at the Olympic tournament – having tattooed qualification, and promising another job should he win medals at Tokyo 2020 – the coach lamented not acknowledging the national team’s achievement, which was the case for the first time Portugal managed to qualify for the collective Olympic pavilion.
“In the situation we are in, in the country we live in, sport doesn’t matter, it’s worthless, nothing – it’s football. I love football, but I realize we don’t exist,” he said.
Paulo Jorge Pereira highlighted the sacrifices made by national athletes. He emphasized this by saying: “We are working a lot, these people are suffering a lot to be able to compete for the Portuguese national team and we have to be a little more recognizable. Anyway, that’s what we have, these are the conditions and we accept them.”
In Nazaré, Portugal invested the first days of training mainly in physical labor and the effects have already been noticed.
“Little by little, they are already gaining interesting physical levels,” stressed the coach, who will take advantage of the friendly match against Brazil on Friday “to try to play well”, without thinking about the result, but rather “in the matter of the process”. [de jogo]”.
In this first of three phases, 20 players are evaluated, five of whom will be disqualified from the games, according to criteria already known by the group.
“The players already know the terms,” says Paulo Jorge Pereira, because “managing expectations is the most important thing.”
Thus, those players who likely won’t be called up already know who they are, but “everything is training happily,” he added.
He said that being in pre-Olympic-qualified and pre-Olympic-qualified Europe guarantees “a greater likelihood of reaching ‘Tokyo 2020’ as a benchmark and fairness. That’s what’s on the table.” Specific, noting that “a lot can happen up to the seventeenth.”
In Nazareth, the selection official reinforced the importance of Portugal’s first match against Egypt, “a team that can beat any other team in the group”.
He concluded, “For us the first match will be very important, although no matter what happens in the first match, we will remain in the competition and things will remain the same until the end. It was important to start well.”
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