Thursday, 9 January 2014

I wouldn't trade my World Cup experience for anything, says Chuck Martini

Former Morocco goalkeeper Chuck
Image courtesy: Twitter
Former Morocco goalkeeper Chuck Martini says that he would never trade his World Cup experience for anything else in the world.

Martini, who is currently the Head Coach of the Muscat Football Academy in the Sultanate of Oman, was called up to represent Morocco at the 1994 FIFA World Cup held in the United States.

"To see all these stars and to see all these household names competing for the greatest prize in world football, of course it's an honour and a fabulous experience," says Martini, who had stints with Leicester City, Wimbledon AFC and Wycombe Wanderers in the UK.

But despite being at the World Cup in the US, Martini's one regret about his time at the World Cup was that he never got to play in it.

"The only disappointing factor is I didn't get no minutes," he says with a laugh. "I was judging it from the bench. 

"I wouldn't have swapped the world for that experience," he adds. "Obviously I would have loved to have tasted it and playing out there in front of the many thousands and the many millions who were watching it on TV but I wasn't to be and it was never to be in terms of a World Cup. 


"I feel blessed that I played professional football, that I was able to represent my national side on a few occasions and it's a massive honour and it's something that I will take to my grave," says Martini, who despite moving to Britain at the age of three, chose to represent his birth nation of Morocco.

Martini received four caps for his country and vividly remembers the emotions associated with his début, a 2-1 win over Gabon.

"I remember how terrified I was," he says. "The reason why I was terrified, I was just thinking 'I'm a
goalkeeper and I just don't want to make a mistake.

"I don't think you feel a sense of pride at the time. You're more nervous about not letting the nation down.

"You don't want to mess up otherwise you don't get the opportunity to play again," he adds. "With a club sort of thing, you can make a mistake, it's only your club.

"But when you make a mistake and it's your country, and people are writing bad things about you, you don't want to picture that."

"I remember, I was nervous until I touched the ball the first time, and then your adrenaline kicks in and it's all about the game," he says.

Club versus Country debate

But despite the honour associated with playing for one's country, the reason clubs are reluctant to let players leave is because they are afraid their players will get injured and hamper their teams.

"Clubs are paying [their] players a fortune and they don't want [them] to go and play in a game that could see [them] get injured, with realistically no real compensation because FIFA rules state that when a national team calls their player(s), they have to go," he explains.

The concern there, he adds is that injuries that players pick up will severely dent a club's hopes of capturing silverware.

"Also, the club look at it from a perspective of business, you know, 'we're paying him so much money, there is no need for him to turn up to an exhibition match'.

"Yes, obviously, [for] World Cup Qualifiers, South American Qualifiers, African Nations Qualifiers, European Qualifiers, fine, but friendlies, they then think 'well no there's no reason for us to be letting our players go, especially our main, core players' and I can understand that," finishes Martini.

No comments:

Post a Comment