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FESABAL's dream is focused on their youth
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FESABAL's dream is focused on their youth

SAN SALVADOR — The 2019 Central American U16 Championships will take place from March 25 to 29 and are the objective of several federations in this year's kick off. The future of the senior national team is in these children, which is why FESABAL expects to play a determining role and is preparing — since FIBA announced Guatemala would be the tournament's hosts — to get to the Central American commitment in the best shape possible.

The U16 Salvadorian national teams have already started to train for their women’s and men’s appearances, where the Central American squads will fight for a spot at the 2019 U17 Centrobasket.

Within the technical restructuring FESABAL underwent in 2018 and thanks to the support of government and national sports institutions, they have been able to obtain local and international scholarships for the team’s members, which has entailed a greater development and investment for youth teams.

El Salvador had an outstanding participation at the U14 COCABA Championship in 2018; the women’s team achieved a second place, and the men’s team a fourth. They have been arduously preparing since last year, when a complete restructuring of the Federation’s technical area began as Spanish coach Ray Santana was appointed. The coach had, in previous occasions, led the Mexican national team in international and official FIBA events.

“The recruitment process began by calling up all educational institutions. We also received support by the national coaches that helped us by lending us their best players to represent our nation. We had a 38-player shortlist for the boys’ team and 24 for the girls’, and since then we've continued making cuts,” he added.

The youth national teams have played several friendlies, faced professional teams from El Salvador and from institutions that are well-known in Salvadorian sports. The technical directives stated that the young players have taken on a great commitment, but above all, they have shown that they are passionate about representing their country’s colors in this COCABA 2019 event.

During the selection process, the players that represented El Salvador in the COCABA U14 were summoned, as well as outstanding players from the nation's interior regions that are supported by FESABAL sub-federations, and outstanding players from school-level leagues. It is also meritorious to point out that there also were Salvadorian players that live overseas, that are developing and playing exceptionally in the United States and are now representing their country in this championship.

Regarding the inclusion of these players, coach Ray Santana stated: “These are players that we expect grant a great quality boost and that will complement the team. We're practicing 6 days a week with 2-hour sessions. The players are doing their best in these concentrations.”

“Our preparation process entails implementing a simple game style in which players have a clear idea (of what they must do) when it's time for them to play. What we're trying to do is to have them adapt and assimilate the game style, so that we can use to the maximum their aptitudes and knowledge,” the coach added.

Lindsey Castillo, one of the players that will attend the Tournament, commented: “I'm very proud to be able to represent El Salvador in this competition. Just knowing that I’ll be wearing the blue and white colors is a great honor. I’ll tremble of joy when I hear the anthem of El Salvador when the tournament begins in Guatemala.”

“I want to win this tournament. I will give it my all to contribute to my team and achieve that goal,” concluded the shooting guard.

El Salvador will travel on March 24 to begin their participation, where they expect to get a spot for both categories and qualify to the upcoming U17 Centrobasket.