Big brother leads by example
© Foto-net

When you think of the world's most travelled footballers, it's unlikely that the name Samuel Caballero will be among them. But a quick check of his CV might make you think again.

The 33-year-old, born on Christmas Eve in Gracias a Dios, began life at Deportivo Melgar, befor making the switch to Olimpia in the 1994/95. Seven years later, he made the journey across the Atlantic and over the Mediterranean Sea to Udinese, where he made 25 appearances, marking the likes of Gabriel Batistuta and Ronaldo in the process. A loan spell at Salernitana followed, before he took the trip back to the Americas to Uruguay's Defensor.

The MLS and Chicago Fire came a-calling in 2005 before a move to current club Changchun Yatai and the Honduran believes that more of his young team-mates should look outside the confines of their own countries.

"I've enjoyed all the countries I've played in, including China, but here it is very different," he told FIFA.com. The language difference makes communication harder, but it's great. In my second year here, we became champions and I've got a nickname ‘dai gor', which means big brother. The people have a lot of respect for me - and this will stay in my heart for the rest of my life. That's a great feeling.

"Because of my experience, I find that I'm helping the team a lot more. I have a translator and I've been passing on tips to the coach. I might say to him that a particular player is very good and we'll try to play together. I don't speak Chinese, but football is a universal language and it all seems to work out fine. At times, it is a little scary, but t does make you grow up both as a footballer - and as a man."

Aiming for South Africa
Understandably disappointed by the losses to Italy and Cameroon at this Men's Olympic Football Tournament so far, Caballero is hoping that the losing streak ends when they meet Korea Republic in Shanghai on Wednesday.

For the tough central defender, however, the growth of the team and its individual parts is more important than getting to the quarter-finals of this competition. The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is the target and for that, he believes that what is needed is a combination of experience and self-belief.

"We have a young team and although we've not won a game here yet, for me this tournament is more about the development of these players," he said. "It has been a great honour to take part of the Olympics and I am sure that my team-mates have learned a lot from playing Italy and Cameroon. Hopefully, these players can break through to the senior side after playing at this tournament.

"In the future we need to be going to the World Cup - and I think that experiences like this, together with the extra experience they are getting at club level, will help us a lot. We have a good national team at present, but it can become even stronger, but the players are still quite naïve in certain areas.

"We want to finish on a high. We will do the best we can and I am sure we will play a good game. We must believe, even though it will be difficult. We're looking to try and score the first goal and say to each other ‘Come on, we can make it,' because if you don't believe in yourself then you don't believe in yourself then you will struggle."