Affable, cordial and eager for Córdoba to have a benchmark in basketball, this is how a Antonio de Torres who is advancing in his ninth year as president of an Andalusian Federation that is going “well”. The Cordovan leader analyzes for the day the movements that are being made between clubs so that this necessary step can be taken: “If they stop looking at each other with envy among neighbors, let’s see if we manage to be at least in LEB Plata”.
-How is basketball in Córdoba? On the bases it goes well.
-In the bases well as always. We lack the referent. As long as we don’t have that reference, every time talent comes out, it leaves or is taken away. If you want to launch a project in the EBA League and you don’t want it to be very expensive financially, you have to have players from the city. What happen? Well, the players in the city are going to the best in cadets. How do you convince a player from Córdoba who is normally already in LEB Plata to return to his house, to live with his parents, to play in the EBA League instead of a semi-professional category? It’s very complicated. But of course, we return to the beginning, you have to have a benchmark team. How do we have a reference team? I always bet on the sports route, but it is very complicated. If you bet on the other side (offices), you have to make a strong investment so that when we have a semi-professional category in Córdoba it will be attractive so that the players who have left can return.
-There have been several years with projects in the First National, but it seems that now we are at a time when basketball wants to resurface in Córdoba.
-There is more illusion to return to where we were. There is more movement. It was, in quotes, a bit of a surprise the union between Adeba and Maristas, and even more surprising that it worked. That has encouraged the rest of the neighbors so that if they have tried and have succeeded, we are going to try it too. The formula does not always work the same on all sites. They have that option and if they stop looking at each other with envy among neighbors, let’s see if we manage to be at least in LEB Plata.
-From that union of Adeba and Maristas, now turn for men’s basketball with Ciudad de Córdoba and El Carmen, how do you see that project?
-It’s more complicated. Fundamentally because in women there are fewer clubs or teams. A priori it is easier to unite ideas, but in men’s there are very different projects between them and in the end it is more complicated because it is a matter of egos. The more individual egos there are, the more difficult that union is. If little by little among them they form mini islands, then in the end in an archipelago we manage to form a peninsula. It goes slower.
-There is the project of Ciudad de Córdoba and El Carmen, also that of UCB on the other hand. There is talk of a Taifa kingdom in the world of basketball in Córdoba. What is happening so that there can again be a benchmark in a Córdoba that likes basketball?
-It’s clear. And La Española likes Córdoba as a basketball destination because it is a very comfortable city. We have thousands of birds a day and we have nearby airports (Seville, Malaga, Granada…). La Española would like a project to come out here in Córdoba. What can happen? I do not know. The Cordoba teams have it in their hands and I also understand that they are different ideas. From a project that can be more pharaonic to others that are slower, the objective must be the same, but they must see the two or three options that may exist. Difficult, yes. I always claim that a club structure is needed because we have school structures here. That has a limitation. Enough that you have training and collect fees, but you have to have the figure of a manager who manages not only that, which can be done by the sports director, but also the resources, who relates to the institutions, who puts on the jacket and the tie to go to the box and you have to put it on because it happened to me in my role as president. They must take that step with a figure like the commercial one. This is essential to have a more professional structure. Reach agreements of the type they consider. If they don’t, it’s very difficult to reach a semi-professional category.
–Is it a business fabric issue? Is it a question of support from institutions so that there is that necessary push?
-Public institutions are important, but above all to open doors. I do not like projects to be supported by aid. First, as a citizen, because I may not understand that my City Council or my Provincial Council supports a budget of 200,000 euros. It is important that there are proposals with the business fabric, but here it is complicated. And I speak it as an Andalusian, who has knocked on impossible doors. This can be done by the City Council or Provincial Council. It should follow the Granada Foundation model, which has a very strong sponsor, but has many medium or small ones that can support you when the big one or the public institution fails you.
–Is it a question of a project already coming out?
-It is a matter, and it is not a criticism, that public institutions bet on a sport. Football is professional football and they go to another level. Futsal is doing very well and I understand that the City Council and Provincial Council have opted for it. I understand that they must bet on a sport. If it’s basketball, great, as if it’s volleyball or handball. For a sport. Once we manage to take that sport to the elite or semi-elite, we are going to bet on another sport. We are going to have a clear objective and we will not distribute misery among all because in the end it is a small misery for each one and we never reach any objective.
-How far can Cordoba go?
In the end, everything is money. Whether we like it or not, it’s money. A budget in LEB Plata, 280,000 euros, is not taken away by anyone if you do not want to have permanence problems. Arriving is difficult, but then you have to stay. If you last a year, we’ve left this a wasteland and who’s going to believe us. In the end it is a lot of money, but it is true that in Córdoba there are very powerful companies. Perhaps that has to come from public institutions, which should open their eyes, although I think they already know it. In the end, it is a return to the city and we appear throughout Spain and in all the media. The public institution should see it as an investment, but I insist that they should not bear the bulk of the budget.
–Why is there usually a bicephaly in Córdoba?
-I do not know. Each one sees the project in a different way. Some see it in the short term, others more slowly. When you see it slow down, you have to be patient. Sometimes patience runs out when the results don’t arrive or you reach the limit and you don’t advance, and you have several options: give up, as has happened, or don’t mess with your head because you can’t be unconscious or we’re going to try and tell us no. Let us not be the ones to say that we cannot, this is a message that I heard not long ago from Imbroda. And she touched me deeply. He was addressing the Unicaja team when they gave him recognition, and he addressed the team and the coach and told them “don’t tell them you can’t do it.” And I believe that this is the problem we have in Córdoba, that we limit ourselves and believe that we are not going to make it. Sometime we have to make the jump, we don’t already have it. We are not in LEB Gold or Silver, we are going to try it sometime.
When is that jump going to come?
–El Coto (City of Córdoba-El Carmen) is trying (to be in LEB Plata). I think that if he succeeded, he would carry a drag or an inertia of joining the project. I say Coto because it seems that it is the one with the highest aspiration. I don’t want to forget UCB and Peñarroya, who are interested in being in the EBA League.