Arce looks to Scolari for inspiration

ASUNCION - Francisco Arce must curb his tempestuous nature and adhere to the discipline he admires in his "second father" Luiz Felipe Scolari if he is to succeed with Paraguay, the new coach told Reuters.

Arce, who spent eight years of his playing career in Brazil, took over less than a month ago from Argentine Gerardo Martino who quit after July's Copa America in Argentina where his team lost the final 3-0 to Uruguay.

The 40-year-old, who has limited experience as a coach, said he often spoke to Brazil's 2002 World Cup-winning coach Scolari to ask for advice even if their styles were different.

"He's much more pragmatic, I'm a little bit of a kamikaze, a little bit crazy. He's more sure, more linear, a fantastic person... almost like a second father [to me]," said the slightly built Arce, nicknamed "Chiqui" (little).

Arce's only previous job as a coach was nearly four years at modest Paraguayan side Rubio Nu, steering them to promotion to the first division in 2008, but he gets flustered when asked whether he is prepared to handle the national team.

"Being prepared has nothing to do with your capacity [to coach]. If we're talking about managing the national team, of course I don't have experience because I've coached only one club," Arce said.

"But if you ask me if I'm used the pressure, it's obvious I'm not going to get scared after playing for 12 years in the national team, 11 years abroad and living with pressure since I was 15," he said in an interview at Paraguay's national team headquarters.

BRAZILIAN INSPIRATION

Martino looked to Argentina for help in building his team, calling up several players born across the border to a Paraguayan parent like striker Lucas Barrios and midfielder Nestor Ortigoza, who played for Paraguay at the 2010 World Cup.

Arce, on the other hand, is seen as taking the Brazilian game as his source of inspiration having made his name there winning the Copa Libertadores, South America's elite club competition, with Gremio in 1995 and Palmeiras in 1999, both under coach Scolari.

He did not name Barrios or Ortigoza in his squad for friendlies against Panama and Honduras next month but he made it clear he was not against naturalised players. He was looking at options and had called up Brazil-based midfielder Wilson Pittoni and striker Jose Ortigoza.

"In Argentina there are several kids we're following and who'll get their chance but in footballing taste, I look at Brazilian football more," said Arce, who played at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

Arce said that for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers starting in October, discipline and good results at home were essential.

"Our team will be like us. As a player I was limited in some things but I played with a lot of concentration, simply and quickly, and I was a specialist in some things," said Arce, a noted taker of free-kicks.

"We might get it right or not with strategy, but in terms of discipline, the day I can't maintain it, I'll go home," he said.

"And we're going to make home advantage pay. The home factor has always been especially important for Paraguay to get our qualification and now more than ever we must work on that."

Paraguay open their qualifying campaign in the single, nine-team - Brazil are automatically qualified as hosts - South American group away to Peru on October 7 and at home to Uruguay four days later.


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