Friday 28 April 2017, 07:22

Alava guiding Ecuador through the storm

  • Ecuador’s opening match at Bahamas 2017 ended in a 9-0 defeat to Senegal

  • La Tri are playing in their first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup

  • Captain Mario Alava: “We need to look forward”

Ecuador were rightly looking forward to their FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup debut. They had picturing the game in their minds over and over again, imagining the goals they would score and their celebrations, and, at the end of all, hopefully savouring a victory to remember.

Things did not turn out that way for La Tri, however. The reality of the occasion could not have been more different, as Senegal gave them a painful welcome to Bahamas 2017, scoring nine times and defending stoutly to deny the South Americans any form of consolation.

“This afternoon’s result is a very difficult one for us to take,” said Ecuador captain Mario Alava in an exclusive interview with “We’re going to sit down with cool heads and see what we can take from it. We spoke about it in one of the breaks and we said that we were letting Senegal settle on the ball too easily. We were too weak against a very strong rival. They were fitter than us when it came to getting around on the sand.”

Lessons learned As painful as the scoreline might look, the Ecuadorians can take some positives from the experience. With it being only their first match, they have time to put things right and find a way into the next round.

“Obviously we had very different expectations of how our first World Cup match would go,” said Alava. “We thought we’d win but, unfortunately for us, it wasn’t to be. We can’t just lie down, though. We have to take what we can from this match and use it for the next two, win them and qualify. There’s no other option.”

Ecuador coach Jose Palma handed Alava the captaincy because he knew he would lead the team on and off the pitch when times got tough, which is certainly the case right now. Determined to lead from the front, the skipper is not about to shirk his responsibilities.

“I’m going to talk to the rest of the players and tell them that the first match has gone,” said the 31-year-old. “The result is what it is, and we have to look forward. We’ve got two matches left, against Switzerland and the Bahamas, and they’re both going to be finals. I’m going to tell everyone in the dressing room to forget what’s happened and to take the good things from it. We’ll also look at what we did wrong and how we can improve. And then we can start looking forward.”