Tuesday 07 March 2023, 20:00

Football with a Future: Colombia launches ambitious project with FIFA support

  • The aim is to innovate and to reinforce the modus operandi of all the country’s national teams so they can achieve success

  • The first seminar for the 2022-25 plan was attended by the stakeholders of Colombian football

  • FIFA supporting the project through its FIFA Forward programme

“To achieve results on the pitch and enable Colombia to win trophies,” said Colombian Football Association (FCF) Development Director Ivan Novella, setting out the ambitious objectives of Futbol con Futuro (Football with a Future), a project that the FCF presented at a seminar held in Bogota on 28 February, with all the stakeholders of Colombia’s footballing ecosystem in attendance.

“The process began nearly three years ago, when we summarised what we’d been working on in development,” added Novella. “We saw that we needed to organise ourselves and invest more and better to consolidate the work all our national teams were doing. The project is based on four key areas: talent acquisition, national youth teams, modernising our technology and equipment, and the social aspect.”

The project’s specific objectives include the following:

  • To define a teaching and working methodology for coaches, video analysts and scouts based on the playing style of the national teams.

  • To increase the number of permanent staff on the coaching teams in each age category and hold more training camps every year.

  • To innovate and to modernise the tools available to the coaching staff, medical team, and players.

  • To support the overall development of national team coaches and players.

The plan covers the 2022-25 period and has the support of FIFA, which will make a little over USD 2,300,000 available within the framework of the FIFA Forward Programme 1.0 and 2.0.

“As far as FIFA is concerned, through its regional office in Asuncion, it is important that we support the FCF with the planning, implementation and execution of Futbol con Futuro,” said Regional Office Development Coordinator Sergio Palacios. “The development of the women’s and men’ national teams requires a holistic approach in the short, medium and long term, and a clear road map from the youth academy through to the elite. It also involves them taking part in high-level competitions so they can pick up international experience. The project covers everything.”

More than 100 people attended the opening seminar, including the coaches of all Colombia’s national teams, among them men’s senior head coach Nestor Lorenzo and women’s senior head coach Nelson Abadia, who is currently preparing for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™.

Also present at the seminar were FIFA expert Daniel Banales, former Colombia head coach and CONMEBOL Technical Study Group member Reinaldo Rueda, and representatives of Colombia’s 36 professional clubs, including several top-flight coaches.

“The idea is to replicate this seminar with three online regional seminars, so that we can get the content out to the more than 3,000 coaches across the country with Pro A, B and C licenses and then hold technical seminars,” said Daniel Amaya, the head coordinator of Football With A Future. “We’ll use the conclusions to create a document that sets out the philosophy, the type of players we are looking for, and the training methodology.

“That’s when we’ll start training national youth team coaching staff and the Technical Secretariat, all of which will aid the recruitment process. All this information will also improve the quality of coaching course content, with the launch of the FCF Academy playing a big part in that."

In Novella’s opinion, modernising the talent acquisition process will have a direct impact on the national youth teams and on the path to the senior teams. “We are looking for players to reach the senior national team via the U-15s, U-17s and the U-20s. That will mean they’ll have more experience, more training and the same way of working, which will bring better results.”

So when will the results start to show? Novella knows that putting a timeframe on things is not easy, but he is optimistic. “The first step is to qualify for all women’s and men’s World Cups, and then, over the next two World Cup cycles, to set our sights on reaching quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals, and winning trophies of course.”