Saturday, 5 April 2014

Interview of Daniel de Matos

In this week's interview, we give credit to one of the most active players in Brazil. Daniel de Matos is also one of the most enthusiastic players in South America and a big promoter of the the beautiful game.

When did you first started to play Subbuteo and what was the first team you got bought?
I first played subbuteo when I was a 8 year old kid. Estrela (A Brazilian toymaker) had launched Pelebol (subbuteo) in Brazil and it was fairly common in the early eighties. Then my parents went to England and bought me and my brother a complete set. We used it quite a lot, until nearly all of the players broke. Then, the subbuteo trend disappeared here and we didn´t find teams to replace the ones we broke.

So, I went on to play Brazilian table football (played with buttons) for the remainder of my childhood and my early twenties. After I graduated from college, I stopped playing due to complete lack of time.
However, in late 2011, I got the news that the game was being brought back again thanks to the effort of the Brazilian Table Football Confederation. So, I got a used subbuteo set on eBay and went back to flicking.

First, I got a Brazil and Argentina on Zeugos, and shortly after, I got Atletico de Madrid on iBase Storm
Daniel (second from the right side) with his Vasco de Gama shirt during the recent FISTF Grand Prix of Brazil

How many years have you been playing and what are the main titles you have collected at any level?
Right now, it´s been almost two years since I have returned to the subbuteo table. The only title I have gotten so far is the South American Club Championship with my team (Vasco da Gama). But I am still working hard on the table to get better in this department.

What is the best thing about this game and why would you recommend it to someone?
First of all, It is a game that requires a lot of mental strength, mental quickness, hand-to-eye coordination and a lot of practice. You don´t get to be a better flicker without practicing. You have to go to the pitch and try you best.

Second, it is a close-knit community. Most of the players I have spoken to or exchanged messages on Facebook are as passionate as I am about subbuteo and love to share their experiences. I usually get lots of tips from high-ranked players like Dan Scheen, Trisha Baumeler or Carlos Flores. These guys are really enthusiastic about the game and are willing to share their knowledge to increase the awareness of the sport. I feel very fortunate to be able to learn something from guys like them.

Your most memorable moments from this game happy or even sad?
Ah, my most memorable moment was winning the Club Championship with Vasco da Gama. Vasco da Gama is the football club I support ever since I was a little kid. And we Brazilians are very passionate about club football. It is part of the fabric of our souls, we might say. I never was a great footballer myself, and I always thought that I would never be an athlete for my childhood team. Well, I actually accomplished my childhood dream on a smaller scale. So I feel very honored to play for Vasco da Gama.

Who was your most difficult opponent to beat and who is your favorite player and why?
Our most difficult player to beat is Marcelo Lages Ramalhete. He´s a fierce defender. He will put a lot of pressure on the midfield to try to cause mistakes. And if you commit any mistakes on the defensive end, you can expect him to capitalize on them. No wonder he´s Brazil #1 player.

I have two favorite players. Carlos Flores, with his uptempo game and his nearly endless arsenal of tricks and accurate shots.  And the other one is Dan Scheen. A fast player with amazing control of the ball and deadly chip shots. 

Is it a sport or a game ? What is your opinion about this question that many people ask?
Well, even according to the Brazilian Ministry of Sports, table football is a sport. It requires mental strength, great conditioning. You play and you perspire. You walk and jog around the table. Definitely a sport.

What improvements would you like to see in the future and what would you suggest to improve things?
Since we are far away from Europe, we try to learn as much as we can from videos from our European and North American friends (Huge props to Serge Leroy, Wolfgang Haas and Paul Eyes for their effort – and also Danny Lilley from ESA, for the live streaming of ESA competitions). So, we would really like to see more games from Europe. We would like to learn from our European friends as much as we could.  I even remember cancelling all my appointments during last year´s World Cup just to watch the live streaming of videos (Such a treat to watch).

Here in Brazil we are trying to bring people to the tables. To create awareness to the game, and to bring new players. As FISTF President Alan Collins always says, you can be bad in football, but you can come and try subbuteo and share our passion and the love for the sport.

What would you recommend to someone who starts the game now? What are the secrets for top performance.
First of all, do not rush to buy a subbuteo team right away, if possible. Try different bases and see which one fits your style better. And stick with this team for as long as possible. Better results are achieved when you stick for a base type for a longer time.
Second, keep your cool. Being nervous on the subbuteo pitch is an ill-omen. It makes you prone to mistakes and makes it more difficult to capitalize on your opponent mistakes. If you start cursing, you can be sure that you won’t go far with a negative attitude
Third: Practice, practice and practice. If you don´t put effort, you’ll never be a brilliant player. It takes a lot of time to be a great subbuteo player.

Danel's passport

Name: Daniel de Matos
Age: 35
Nation: Brazil
Club: Vasco da Gama
Type of figures/bases used: Extreme Works and Tchaaa Sniper
Profession: Surgeon

Hobbies: Running, Watching TV series and football, videogames and Subbuteo

(Interview by Panos Panagiotides)