- Costa Rica U-17 captain buoyant over country's Russia 2018 qualification
- He reveals why one of his coaches nicknamed him 'Luis Figo'
- Alfaro and Los Ticos keen to bounce against Guinea
When he came down to the lobby of the hotel for a chat with FIFA.com after Costa Rica’s daily training session, captain Jose Alfaro cut a relaxed figure. The disappointment of his side’s opening-round defeat to Germany in Group C at the FIFA U-17 World Cup already seemed to have been consigned to history.
His mood had doubtless been lightened by the fact that Los Ticos’ senior team had qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. "It’s absolutely wonderful, and it’s going to motivate us over here as well," he said. Costa Rica’s No.12 went on to admit that one day he too would love to play at the showpiece tournament. "That’s obviously my big dream, representing my home country at a World Cup," he said. "That would be fantastic."
For that dream to become a reality, Alfaro needs to begin by showcasing his already well-established technical skills in India. "I’m totally focused on this competition," he said. "My mentality is always to concentrate 100 per cent on what I’m working on. I’m giving it my all, and we’re all hoping to go as far as we possibly can here."
At AD Carmelita, the club in Costa Rica’s top flight where he plies his domestic trade, Alfaro has already picked up a nickname that is indicative of his ball skills. "One of my coaches there called me Luis Figo because my play reminds him of the Portuguese legend."
Three reasons why Alfaro believes Costa Rica will get three points from their match with Guinea:
- 1. Learning from their mistakes
"In the opening match, we gave Germany a lot of respect – perhaps a little too much. When you play against Germany, you automatically think of World Cup titles and top teams. We won’t make that mistake again. We also need to convert more of our chances. Overall, we need to be a little calmer at the right times."
- 2. Trusting the coach and the team
"The coach has done fantastic work and is incredibly important to us. We have complete faith in his abilities and know that he will always have us prepared in the best possible way. We want to take the game to our opponents and we know that when we do, we look good. We managed to show that to a certain extent in the first match, and I think that we gave a good account of ourselves against Germany. Obviously, the late goal we conceded really hurt, but we proved to ourselves that we could hold our own with the best teams in the world, and that will gee us up for the matches to come."
- 3. Adapting to India
"The climate here is different to what we have at home. In Costa Rica, it also gets hot, but the air is nothing like it is here, and we had to get used to that. It’s got better with every day and every training session. And now that we know what it’s like on match days, we can just concentrate on our football."
Three things you should know about Costa Rica captain Alfaro:
- 1. Favourite player: Lionel Messi
"He’s fantastic – he’s my idol."
- 2. Favourite club: Barcelona
"Messi plays there, which is why I’m a Barça fan. I watch their matches whenever I can."
3. Favourite move: When Arjen Robben drops the shoulder
"I like playing on the left wing. From there, it’s easy to cut inside and shoot with your right foot – a bit like Robben [laughs]."