Martínez, investing in the future of Belgium’s golden generation

Madrid, Mar 11 (EFE).- Roberto Martínez, the head coach of Belgium’s golden generation of football stars, says the federation is investing 19 million euros in a state of the art sports complex and boosting the sport’s profile with development projects, namely the so-called Wide Angle policy to bring all professional matches to Belgian screens.

The visionary Spanish coach is the driving force behind the plans to create a sports complex in the city of Tubize, some 20 minutes by train from Brussels, which will receive 16 million euros of the funding, while the rest is earmarked for the Wide Angle technology.

Martínez told Efe his role as coach has allowed him “to shape a vision for Belgian football for the next 15 or 20 years.”

“Belgium was in 66th place in the FIFA Ranking and in 12 years it has reached number one,” the coach added.

For Martínez, the priority now is to learn from the games his squad plays and to create “the building that the Federation deserves, the facilities, training fields… and to be able to develop plans for the future,” he adds.

Martínez signed as coach of the Belgium national team in August 2016 after a 10-year stint in the Premier League.

Since then he has created the Belgian Football Hall of Fame, promoted coaching courses for footballers in the twilight stages, and the modern sports complex that opened in November of 2021 with three grass pitches due to be finished by the end of the year.

The projects have all been made possible thanks to the Red Devil’s extraordinary results in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where the team reached the quarter-finals to come third and netted some 19 million euros in surplus FIFA prizes.

“When we went to the World Cup in Russia, the financial speculation was to reach the quarterfinals. Coming third has allowed us to invest in the new facilities in addition to investing in the ‘Wide Angle’ project,” Martínez says.

“If we think from the point of view of the young footballer, that stimulus, that vision and that dream has to have a sports city to which you aspire to play in one day, it is vital. This creates a very clear culture and has allowed us to have a high-performance center, where the boys, at the age of 15, can work with the goal of joining the first team in the future,” he adds.

The Belgian Federation and Martínez are not only thinking about the new generations.

Another key project in development to harness the success of the golden generation is to ensure active players have access to coaching courses to further their careers.

Martínez presides over a squad glittering with stars from Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne to Thibault Courtois and Romelu Lukaku.

“Each player, at the end of his career, can begin to think and visualize the game from a coach’s perspective. This generation will continue to influence Belgian football as coaches,” says Martínez.

The two most recent examples of the program’s success are Vincent Kompany, who a day after retiring from Anderlecht was already working as a coach, and Thomas Vermaelen, who is finishing his coaching course and in the summer will join the coaching team for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.EFE


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