Issue - September 2008

September 2008

In this number: Minato Kobori interviews Julio Cesar Baldivieso; Perry King eliminate some myths of malaria in Bolivia; Stress is one of the main problems in our society nowadays Monica Ruiz tell us about this; Walter Sanchez explains about working women in Cochabamba and their moving away from domestic life. more...

September 2008

A look into the past, present, and future of Julio Cesar Baldivieso

Julio César Baldivieso is one of the most prized assets of Bolivian football. He won 85 caps for his country and scored 15 goals. He played in the 1994 World Cup and has played in 8 different countries throughout his career. At the moment he is at Club Aurora in Cochabamba, playing and managing at the same time.

Minato Kobori
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Yokohama - Japan

I made my way to the Club Aurora training ground where Julio promised to meet me. I went early to watch him lead the team training. It was clear why he was appointed as the manager. All the players respected him and he held a permanent sense of authority on the pitch. Off the pitch, he was a nice man and I was delighted when he greeted me in Japanese. I knew he had played in Japan, but that was more than 10 years ago. He seemed to place a great importance in human relationships as he went around greeting every single person involved with the club. I was invited into the changing room and there I started the interview.

Cocha-banner: When did you decide to pursue a career in football?

Julio César Baldivieso: I had been playing football for many years as a child and through my father I started to play in a team that belongs to the association called Estudiante when I was 14. The big move was when I joined Jorge Wilstermann when I was 19. It was a very important move for me as it gave me a chance to prove myself in the professional league. From there the door opened for me to play international football.

CB: You have played in many different countries – Bolivia, Argentina, Japan, Ecuador, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Venezuela. What was the most important thing you learned from this?

JB: Yes I have played in many different countries, and my best memories are in Japan. I learned a lot as a human being and as a football player.

CB: Why did you decide to go and play in these different places?

JB: I was looking for success. Each country gave me an opportunity to improve.

CB: Would you advise other Bolivians to go abroad and play?

JB: It is very hard for Bolivians to go and play in a different country. At first you have to make a decision which country to play in, the style of football, and the conditions. If a player is seriously thinking of playing abroad I would tell them to go to Japan.

CB: Going to a country, living there, and then playing football is not easy. How did you cope with all this?

JB: Yes, each country has its own culture – their own way of life and values. As a foreigner you have to do your best to be accepted. For me it was twice as hard as I was trying to be accepted as a football player at the same time.

CB: What was the most difficult experience you had?

JB: The hardest time I had was in the countries in the Middle East. It was hard from the beginning and especially during Ramadan. For the Muslims the day is night and the night is day. The only thing I could do in those situations was to keep trying and trying and improve my game. (Ramadan is a religious practice for the Muslims. People who are not pregnant, ill or under 12 years of age are expected to participate in this practice. They are not allowed to eat or drink during the day throughout their holy month. The idea of it is to cleanse the soul and free it of harm. It means that it disrupts the eating and sleeping patterns of the players.)

There were many breaks during the interview as various different staff came into the changing room to greet Julio. He was clearly a very busy man, but he was dealing with it with amazing ease. He kept telling me that he was very lucky to have all the opportunity he did to have a successful career. He was very modest, even though the real reason why he has been so successful was down to his hard work and talent. No player would have got so far with just luck.

CB: Let’s talk a bit about the European Championship What do you think about the Spanish team who won the tournament?

JB: First of all, I think Spain have a great team. And secondly, they had what all teams need to win - luck.

European football tends to be more physical than in South America, which prefers the more technical side of football. The interesting thing is that the Spanish league is quite similar to South American football, and now they have lots of South Americans playing in it. So it was great that Spain won the tournament.

CB: Xabier Azcargota was the manager of Bolivia during 1993-1994. Then he became the manager of Yokohama Marinos in the 1997-1998 season, the same season you were there. Is he the reason why you went to Japan?

JB: Yes. At the time the Bolivian national team was one of the best in our history. He had to choose one player from 25 Bolivians and he chose me. I was so proud and it was a big honour to join him in Japan.

CB: Now you are playing for Club Aurora, but you are also managing them at the same time. How did that happen and is it easier being a player or a manager?

JB: The president asked me if I wanted to try it. It was a great opportunity and I said yes.

It is harder being a manager than a player. You have to choose the best players and make them work as a team. I always look for players who have lots of motivation and work hard. I like to work with players who want to learn and take my advice seriously. It is very rewarding when the team starts to play I how want them to.

CB: Where do you want to take Club Aurora?

JB: When I became the manager the team was close to getting relegated. I managed to keep them in the league and now I want to take them to the top as fast as possible.

CB: In the future would you like to be a full time manager, and perhaps be the manager of the Bolivian national team?

JB: Yes of course. If I was offered the job I will take it very quickly!

CB: If you became the manager of the Bolivian national team, what would be your main priority?

JB: I would like to take them to the World Cup.

CB: Finally, what was the best moment in you football career?

JB: The best moment was when I went to the World Cup in 1994. Also, I will never forget the two goals I scored in La Paz against Brazil. They are always considered the best team in the world, so to beat them was an amazing feeling. It was not surprising to hear that he held the World Cup as something special. It is the most prestigious football tournament and every player’s dream. Politics and money is placed to one side and the fans can witness all the players’ pure love for football. This is when the whole world gathers together and unites. For a player to represent his country on such a big stage is their greatest honour and a memory which will last forever. There was a different look to Julio’s face as he reminisced about his time in the World Cup. His passion for football is forever burning, and one day we may see him become the manager of Bolivia and take them to the World Cup.

Malaria in Bolivia

Malaria is a very serious disease in our world, especially in Latin America and Bolivia. We as a traveling community understand this, but how much do we know and how accurate is our facts when we think about malaria with respect to Bolivia, perhaps one of the more biodiverse countries in the world?...

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