Tiago Polido's Interview

Futsal’s Special One Ready For His Next Challenge ...
Futsal’s Special One Ready For His Next Challenge

By @DougReedFutsal

Portuguese futsal coach Tiago Polido has been labelled “the special one” in his home country due to the similarities with football’s Jose Mourinho. The comparison goes far beyond sharing the same profession and nationality.

Still only 37 years old, Polido, like his compatriot, started his coaching career at a young age after being forced to retire from playing due to injury. It didn’t take long for him to win silverware, winning national league titles in Italy and Croatia, two of Europe’s most competitve championships.

An ability with languages, including English, and a flexibility to adapt to different environments has resulted in success in several countries just like Mourinho. They share a similar approach and both are regarded as intelligent coaches who possesses an obsessive attention to detail combined with a relentless work ethic that results in no stone being left unturned.

After recently leaving his role as Head Coach of the Qatar national team, this young and ambitious coach is now looking for his next project where he can bring success and continue his career’s upward trajectory. Here he discuss his career so far.

In the beginning of your career you worked at Spanish Premier Division side Santiago Futsal alongside one of the world’s most renowned coaches, Jose Venancio Lopez. What did you learn during this time?

During the 2006/2007 season I had the opportunity to work at Santiago Futsal, Spain where I coached the juveniles and I completed my thesis for my masters that I was completing in Portugal. There I coincided with Jose Maria Pazos *Pulpis” (Current Head Coach of Thailand) and Jose Venancio as Sporting Director.

With Venancio I had the privellage to live a year and a half absorbing so many things from every angle. He was a reference as a dedicated professional, a person of values, in his capacity of managing interpersonal relationships, his way of controlling every aspect inherent to the task of being a coach and, not least important, all technical and tactical knowledge and coaching methodology.

In addition, I had the opportunity to work daily in a professional structure with professional people who were dedicated to futsal 24 hours a day. I learnt so much with them from the medical department, press office, 1st team staff, youth section staff, managers and directors. There were more than 20 professionals all working in the same directon.

It was a Masters in how to apply all the theoretical knowledge I had learned in university and how to transfer it to practice.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

To talk about trophies is to speak about the main objective in high level teams. But you must look to see and be conscious that these are just circumstances.

You must look at those with distrustful eyes to one side as from the perspective of the press and other sporting agents they are the most important, but from the point of view of the coach you must be conscious that they can be the principal enemy of individual and collective growth.

For a coach a title should be the consequence of a job well done and a journey well executed. The legacy that remains when you leave a club is, for me, of equal importance, although in most cases it isn’t seen like this.

What has behind your success as a coach?

I don’t like to try to individualise the qualities of a coach. What I am clear about is that we have to be capable in many areas when managing a team. And the leadership you gain because of your knowledge and ability that contributes to the team.

But from my point of view, the key is to have the players under your control and make them believe in the journey you choose to achieve the objectives, the best for them in their competitive situation. That they are involved and committed to the process.

In the past there has been rumours that you will be the next coach of Benfica. What does it mean to you that you are linked with such a renowned club?

I believe that we work every day to grow and be better prepared for the future. When you see your name associated with big clubs and projects and in competitive championships, it is a sign that in some way you are doing something right in your career.

It is a source of pride and responsibility, but you must never lose the humility to know that you are not superior to anyone.

You have won championships in the top divisions of Italy and Croatia among other titles. What is the key to adapt and have success in other countries?

In university they always give you books and theoretical texts, and they teach you what are the factors of performance isolated from the environment. Well, it is important to have the skill as a coach to identify, as quickly as possible, what are the true factors of performance in the different socio-cultural and sporting contexts that the team faces to achieve the objective predetermined by the leadership.

Identification of the competitive context, knowledge of the players (in and out of the court), management of the individual roles/expectations of all the team components, sense of the club’s history, conscientious of the socio-cultural aspects of each environment, etc. They are all aspects we must appraise.

A capacity to adapt presumes a willingness to learn from others.

You have now left the Qatar national team. How was your experience there?

Two years ago I arrived in Qatar and I knew, more or less, the reasons I came. The objectives were immediate, to qualify for the final phase of the AFC Championships and, once there, to try to get their best position ever. I knew that would enable us to qualify for the World Cup which would be ideal.

I arrived in Qatar with a backroom staff composed of two other people, the Spaniards, Sergio Mullor as assistant coach and Carlos Corona as goalkeeper coach. To have the possibility to create a working group of 3 coaches that dedicate themselves 100% to futsal and to work as a team where each had their role and their importance within the technical staff, was, for me, a reason to grow.

The truth is we did more than 140 training sessions and 26 friendlies during those two years, we got to play the AFC Championships and finished ninth, which was from my point of view fair but a personal disappointment.

The reality that we had encountered was a country that, in contrast to the majority of Asian countries, had better infrastructure and economic resources but a lack of players. We tried to define a working group with whom we begun to work and tried introducing values such as the spirit of sacrifice, hard work and commitment as a way to promote growth in the group.

In Qatar the sporting context is completely opposite to what we are used to living and managing. For example, the player that runs the most and plays the best is not the one that earns the most. The level of commitment is not a priority in terms of economic reward. We have had to know how motivate the players in other ways, and still like this we have had many training sessions with players missing for incredible reasons… but, anyway, we have lived with these circumstances.

In the end it is very important that we have the capacity/ability in each circumstance to try to evaluate the performance factors that we can use to achieve the planned objectives.

In this sense it is a very positive experience and for that we developed different strategies for new problems.

Would you prefer your next position to be in a club or a national team? What are you looking for in your next project?

Noting that this was my first experience in a national team, the truth is that I continue to think that it is a job that you have to invest lots of hours and the unique difference is that you have fewer competitive occasions during the year as compared to a club.

What motivates me is the ability to be able to compete almost every week as in the case of a club and I think that right now that is where I must go.

However, for me the most important thing is not whether I am in a club or national team. It is the involvement you have in a project where you see the people are happy with the work you carry out and where you feel fulfilled with what you are contributing and, at the same time, you see the growth of the team and players.


FP Staff --> info@futsalplanet.com


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