Friday, 25 October 2013

How a Footballing Nation Changed from Championship No-hopers to Global Superstars 為何比利時國家隊由一支歐洲國家盃陪跑分子搖身變成世界強隊?

Case Study – Belgium

How a Footballing Nation Changed from Championship No-hopers to Global Superstars

Belgium co-hosted the 2000 European Championships but suffered humiliation by being eliminated at the group stages. This turned out to be the catalyst for remarkable change. The Belgian Technical Director Michel Sablon knew things needed to be radically transformed. The starting point was to look at other successful countries to see what they were doing right.
Slowly but surely better players have been produced. The blueprint for change included:
  • Agreeing a National Curriculum and playing style and adopting it at all levels of football including the professional clubs (despite massive resistance from some)
  • Convincing youth coaches to move away from a ‘Win at all costs’ mentality to a developmental philosophy
  • Introducing a small-sided games approach at the grassroots
  • Being elitist at youth level with effective talent identification systems and playing the best against the best
Eventually even the skeptics realized that the change was positive (although this took over 6 years in some cases). The evidence speaks for itself; Kompany, Fellaini, Vertonghen, Hazard, Vermaelen, Mignolet, Dembele, Benteke etc are all household names. It was the revised development system that made them what they are.
                                             Source: Royal Belgian Football Association
Belgium has a population of around 11 million (not that different from Hong Kong in terms of the size of talent pool). They are ranked 5 in the latest FIFA standings and have a real chance of winning next year’s World Cup. It’s an amazing story. Against all the odds, Sablon changed the football culture and philosophy of a nation.
That is what we need to do in Hong Kong and what our new Strategy sets out to achieve. We are facing the same resistance here that they initially suffered in Belgium. We recently tried to introduce a minor change to the substitutions allowed in our youth leagues and there was nearly a mutiny. The Belgium case study shows what can be achieved but also how long it takes. It seems that you have to win hearts and minds before you can win football matches.
個案分享 – 比利時

  • 同意統一採用國家課程指引及球隊比賽風格,將其應用至不同足球層面上,包括當地球會(當然有部分球會拒絕採用)
  •  說明青年教練從思想上的「不惜一切代價去爭取勝利」轉向至以發展為大方向的道理上;
  • 在草根足球項目引入小型足球比賽模式;
  • 從青年球隊中透過有效之辨識球員系統尋找精英球員,讓他們得以在最強對最強的環境中成長。





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