IFAF Americas: Panama Ready for Brazil; #VienenLosPanas!

Panama and Brazil face off in the IFAF Americas Qualifying Bowl this Saturday, January 31st, at the National Stadium Rommel Fernandez in Panama City.

The winner of the Qualfying Bowl earns the last spot in the 2015 IFAF World Championships which will be held in Canton, Ohio this coming summer.

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This game will be directly broadcast from Estadio Rommel Fernández in Panama City to Brazil on ESPN+ Brasil and streamed live online on the IFAF website and www.cableondasports.com starting at 7:00 pm (local time). Kick-off will be at 7:30 pm.

Team Panama defensive coordinator Reynaldo Jimenez, said the team’s last preparation has been very intense, but that the team is avoiding any type of physical exertion, so as not to  injure or harm the team before Saturday’s match.

Preparation and Inspiration

Ms Elle from AmericanfootballCA.com was in Panama City this week and had a chance to catch up with some of the Team Panama players.

Woodly Griffith WR web

Woodly Griffith (#9)

Wide receiver Woodly Griffith (#9);

“We have been preparing since 2013 when we won the championship Central American Bowl. Even living in Colón and having to travel far to the capital (Panama City) to practice … I’m here for the homeland and love for the sport.”

Griffith on his time and experience with American football in Panama.

“I have played this sport for a lot of years. Some National Team of Panama teammates have been playing over 20 years. Like Diego Cohen is going on 22 years of playing experience. He is the best QB in Panama.”

Tomas Altamirano RB web

Tomas Altamirano (#1)

Griffith has also played with National Team of Panama teammates, QB (Diego Cohen) & WR (Victor Celis) on the National Flag Team of Panama.

Team Panama starting running back Tomas Altamirano (#1) emphasized that his team is going to leave everything on the field at Rommel stadium in this game against the Brazilian Oncas.

“Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it. And I can guarantee that after the game Panama will have no regrets.”

 

Check out Griffith and Team Panama in the video below!

Diego Cohen QB web

Diego Cohen (#7)

Team Panama captain and starting QB Diego Cohen (#7) was asked what sparked his interest in American Football;

“Our father, who had previously studied in the States, taught my younger brother and me US style sports from a very young age. We became attached to them. My brother is presently the QB for the National Flag Team of Panama. Also from a young age I watched a lot of American Football on TV so I became familiar with it early on.”

Star linebacker and defensive captain Luis Eduardo Pabon Chevalier (#48) played on the Team Panama at the 1st Central America Bowl in El Salvador when Panama won championship and earned the chance to represent Central America in this qualifying game.

Family are how Pabon was introduced to this foreign sport.

“I got interested in American Football having had two uncles who were offensive linemen when Panama played against the USA military base camps. Back then there was only one Panama team.”

Luis Pabon LB web

Luis Eduardo Pabon Chevalier (#48)

Pabon on what he brings to the field for Panama;

“I bring to the Panama national team my experience and knowledge that I have acquired from the many years that I have played the sport on every Panamanian league. As well, I have played for several teams, positions and different defensive schemes that have conditioned me to adjust against complicated offenses. I play with will and guts because I have always tried to be the most aggressive player on the field.”

Check on the full Team Panama roster on the next page!

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John McKeon
John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.
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