Yanina Gaitan, Argentina’s top scorer in the Women’s World Cup: “I feel proud to have left a mark in our history”

With a great shot, the Argentina national team lost 6-1 to Germany in 2003

The Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand 2023 is approaching The Argentine debut is approaching. the Albiceleste He will face football’s greatest event with the best preparation in its history after intense focus and a record number of friendlies to give vent to the collective process. But for this discipline to get the recognition it deserves There were previous generations who had to struggle with their time with scarce resources available.

The light blue and white team’s World Cup record began United States 2003 With a group of players who, based on effort and dedication, have led the country to qualification for the first time. Yanina Gaitanan essential member of the team that traveled to the competition played on North American soil, remembers him infobae Her path in women’s football and recalling the day that marked her name on fire in history: He shouted Argentina’s first World Cup goal against Germany.

– Are you eager to see the new World Cup in Argentina? What are your expectations and which group stage match would you most like to see?

Excited to see the Argentina national team again in the World Cup, it’s very nice and at the same time, being an ex-player, I experience it with great emotion. Having been part of the start of that first group qualifying even as the years go by, the feeling is the same: love and passion for women’s football. Especially when it comes to representing your country in such an important competition. It is something that is never forgotten and that cannot be separated from a person. And the expectations are the best, that history can be improved and the first victory in the World Cup. The match I want to watch is the first against Italy.

German Portanova believes that this is the World Cup for which Argentina have prepared best. Do you see the same thing? Why do you think it is getting better?

– From my point of view, there are players who have more international shooting, some of them play abroad and at the same time they had some friendly matches with the national team. I think the preparation process could be improved. Now it remains to be seen how the girls respond and on top of that there are several of them who will be competing in a second World Cup. Therefore, more experience is a positive factor for the team.

Yanina during 2003 in South America which meant qualifying for the World Cup

– You were one of the pioneers in the national women’s football, how was your path as a girl?

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– My way in the beginning was to play since I was little with my brother. He could play soccer tournaments for dad, and sometimes they let me play and other times they don’t. I played more in the pastures, with my male friends, with my father who also took me to play and taught me different techniques to improve. This was from 1983 onwards. Already in 1990, for the first time, they took me to Sacachispas, where there was a women’s team, but not yet fully formed. Time was short, but the joy of seeing women playing ball was a great happiness for me. Later I went to Yupanqui where I found a great team with a coach and project more well armed with trainings and games in a field of 11. There I joined a women’s soccer team for the first time around the age of 12. I’ve trained with older women who call me an 8-year-old and finished training in between these training sessions and with more matches with the men.

I realize it has been my sport since I was a girl. It was fun, and although it wasn’t easy to find space and pairs to play, I knew that was what made me happy and what was best for me. I noticed it when I played with my brother and his friends because of my technical and motor skills. I knew that at that time it was not uncommon to see girls my age who knew how to play.

Did you have support or resistance from your family at that time? What was the state of women’s soccer when you started playing?

– I always had the support of my family. I can’t say the same about the football leagues my dad used to play, which my brother used to play because they wouldn’t let me sign up. I haven’t been able to play, and I usually go to watch the matches my brother plays from abroad. They rarely let me play because I was a girl. When I started playing soccer, it didn’t have a spread. It was a time when you didn’t see girls kicking a ball, whether it was in clubs or parks. It looked bad to play the girl.

Yanina, always with the ball under the sole, together with Carlos Salvador Bilardo

It was in Yupanqui at the age of 13 that Yanina received the call she had longed for: she was called up to the Argentine national team. “It was great, a lot of happiness for me and my family”she enthusiastically confessed. Training sessions were standardized into one category and generally held on the field future. With few resources, they found themselves directly in the promotion club to train under the technical guidance of Carlos Borello.

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How was qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in 2003? What characterizes that trash that made history?

– We played qualifiers in two stages: the first in Salta against Uruguay and Paraguay, where we won both matches. Then we traveled to Peru and played triangle against Brazil, Colombia and the national team. There we achieved our first qualification for the World Cup. It was very exciting for all the efforts put in, we knew we were making history and we were going to be in the World Cup for the first time. We are trained to think about the goal and achieve it with a lot of effort, responsibility, dedication and passion mainly. It was a group very hungry for glory and there was healthy competition within the team for wanting to be a part of it.

They traveled to the United States, a country that has always attached importance to women’s football. What did they find?

– It is a fact that the United States is a force in the system. They have been working with serious projects for years and from an early age. It was reflected in everything. From the moment they arrived in the country, the framework was very professional, with all the care and needs that a team would require, such as accommodation, transfers, and even pitches. Everything first. It even surprised the amount of media that covered the tournament. The competition itself was the most beautiful and we arrived knowing that we had the chance to play against another superpower like Germany in a stadium Washington It gave us a lot of excitement.

– You scored the first goal for the national team in the World Cup, specifically against Germany, who ended up winning the tournament…

I feel so proud and excited to be making a mark in our history, representing your country and doing something positive. It is the most beautiful thing that an athlete can aspire to in love for the country, for the country and for your land. inexplicable. Grateful to God because I know He sees everything, He’s seen everything I’ve been through, and what I wanted to be there for. Playing what always makes me happy, being on the playing field and being able to do my part in the process.

Although it seemed that Yanina’s path with the Argentine national team was just beginning, Various life situations pushed her away Slowly from his best and can no longer say present at Chinese 2007. The need to start working for an economic livelihood forced her to study and look for some income. Little by little the times were shrinking and In 2011 he made the decision to retire from the activity To devote himself entirely to his academic training.

The last club of Gaetan’s career was Boca in 2011 (Image: Courtesy)

– You can’t go to the 2007 edition and in 2011 you retire. How did you feel when you made that decision and what are you doing today?

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– Before 2007 I had to resign from the national team. I wasn’t having a good mental moment, I chose to work and study. It is unfortunate that things happened this way. In 2011 I retired definitely because of the times I was really managing in my life. I worked as a cashier in a supermarket and I couldn’t be 100% at the club, at that time I was in Boca and on top of that we emerged champions. It was hard not to play anymore. I was young, I really wanted to continue but I faced some external factors that did not allow me to do so. Today I am a physical education teacher, I work as a teacher in two schools. I am also a coach and my wish and delusion today is to have the opportunity to work on the directing team. I am proud of the path I have taken, today I would like to be inside the field from the side of the field: directing, helping and training new generations.

How do you see Argentine football today? Is it crazy to think of competing against the best teams in the world in the near future?

– Argentine football is on the rise. The more importance that is given to a sport, the less it takes to become a powerhouse. Raw materials are always there. Lack of work, projection and dedication since childhood. with the support of clubs, leaders, and spaces; And that former players who are coaches, leaders, or coaches have this place to contribute better to the discipline. Slowly it is given the importance that every sport needs to grow and reach its fullness. The road is being made little by little. We hope that this support will be stronger to fight with the great powers in the near future.

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