Wednesday 22 May 2019, 09:45

Diacre and Chan, more than just mentor and mentee

  • Corinne Diacre and Yuen Ting Chan team up

  • "Ting and I really hit it off and work together with a passion"

  • FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme is "a great idea"

Despite Les Bleues being in full-on preparation mode at Clairefontaine for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, French coach Corinne Diacre took the time to meet with Yuen Ting Chan, with whom she has paired up as part of the FIFA Coach Mentorship Programme.

The first thing that they have in common is that they have both coached men’s teams. Diacre was in charge of Clermont Foot (in the French second tier) from 2014 to 2017 while Yuen became the first woman in the history of Chinese football to steer a first division team (Eastern AA, Hong Kong) to the title in 2016.

"Ting and I began to hit it off last October as soon as FIFA brought us together. It was great to meet her," said Diacre with a smile, delighted to return the favour to her counterpart who had already hosted her a few months earlier in Hong Kong.

"Coming here is a great opportunity for me, both to spend time with Corinne and to observe how it works at a level of the French team. I think that I’m going to learn a lot this week," said Yuen, who is currently assistant coach of the China PR women’s U-16 team.

"We discuss a lot of things and I ask Corinne a lot of questions on how she runs the team. I am still short on experience, in particular in terms of management. Working with a national team is totally different from doing it at club level."

"What is interesting is that we don’t need to physically see one another to discuss things," Diacre interjected. "We communicate a lot via WhatsApp. We send one another little messages, ask the odd question here and there on a very regular basis. It goes beyond what FIFA asks of us – we allow ourselves a lot more regular interaction. I feel that beyond just having a set hour to sit down and talk tactics, we discuss things in far greater detail and more often."

The bond between the two women is clear and obviously growing all the time, and serves as a great illustration of the success of the Coach Mentorship Programme, proving that it meets a genuine need for sharing and interaction between women’s football coaches, be they male or female.

"It’s a great idea," the Frenchwoman agreed. "When FIFA offered me this role, I looked at it from the position of the mentee rather than the mentor. I thought that it was something that I would have appreciated when I was starting out my career as a coach, having a top-level coach with such a wealth of experience to talk things over with."

Perfect pairings