Having collected just a single point from their first two games, Panama will need all the help they can get when they take on mighty Brazil in their final match in Group E of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011. Fortunately for them they have a talented striker in Cecilio Waterman in their ranks, and though neither he nor his team-mates have found the back of the net thus far, he is aiming to put that right on Thursday.
In Spanish-speaking countries at least, Cecilio’s surname suggests he has the kind of superhuman powers that Panama might find useful when they take on Brazil. “Yes, it’s a name people like to makes jokes with, though I’ve never been a big fan of comics or superheroes,” he said. “I’ve always preferred running after a ball or watching football.”
One of five members of the Panama squad based abroad, in his case with Uruguayan club Fenix, Waterman is anxious to set his side’s Colombia 2011 goalscoring record straight and fire the Central Americans to victory over Brazil: “Like any striker I get down when the goals don’t come, though I know I just need to stay calm and keep on working.”
After kicking off with a goalless draw against Austria, Los Canaleros went down 1-0 to Egypt. The question now is, can they recover in time for their biggest test of all? “Losing to Egypt left a bad taste in the mouth,” replied Waterman. “We didn’t expect that result, but it’s gone now and all we can do is to keep on working and try to win. We’ve got no other option.”
Waterman has overcome his fair share of obstacles to get this far. The fourth of ten children, he has never met his mother. “My family is everything to me, both my brothers and sisters and my father,” he explained. “He rents rooms out in Panama and he’s always supported me. All I can say to my mother is that I’m dreaming of meeting her one day.”
The striker took his first steps in football in familiar fashion, playing at the same school as his national team captain and goalkeeper, Luis Mejia. Later spotted by a Uruguayan agent, he made his way to Montevideo club Fenix.
As to his future, however, Waterman has his eye on more distant climes: “I’d love to go to Europe and play there, though not just anywhere. I like the look of the Russian and Moldovan leagues. I like those places and I hope a big team will come in for me one day.”
A self-confessed devotee of Thierry Henry, himself a FIFA U-20 World Cup veteran, Waterman has one other dream he would like to fulfil. “I want to score at the World Cup and if it comes against Brazil, then so much the better,” he concluded. “They’re a world power and we have to beat them. Not many people will believe we can do that but, as they say, nothing is impossible.”