December 19 – Eighteen players from the current Belgian squad have enrolled in a custom-made coaching course, devised by the Belgian FA (KBVB) to develop their footballing know how and enhance their coaching prospects.
Current Belgian coach Roberto Martinez took the idea from the Belgian women’s team, who first introduced the programme, and Martinez wants to replicate it with the men’s national team who currently sit at the top of FIFA’s world ranking.
“We actually started with the Red Flames,” said KBVB director of coach education Kris Van Der Haegen. “The women are now in the 2nd year of the course. Martinez heard about the concept and thought ‘perhaps this is also something for our players?’ Martinez wants to prepare his players to take the next step in their career and see how we can keep them involved in Belgian football.”
The Belgian FA is a trailblazer with the project, explained Verhaegen. ”We first had to ask UEFA for the green light, but they responded very positively. It could be an example for other national associations.”
Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois and Dries Mertens are among the players who have enrolled for the course. Eden Hazard is an absentee at this stage. The course will last two years.
“They know everything about football, but the most important objective is to teach them to think like a coach,” said Verhaegen. “We are mainly going to tackle the pedagogical and the didactic [aspects], in which most of them are laymen.”
At the last World Cup, Belgium reached the last four after eliminating Brazil in the quarter-finals. They fell to eventual champions France 1-0 in Saint Petersburg. Belgium’s golden generation will be among the top favorites to win next year’s European Championship.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1600970485labto1600970485ofdlr1600970485owedi1600970485sni@o1600970485fni1600970485