Why Singapore is partnering with LaLiga for the Unleash the Roar project

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Coaches train young players at a LaLiga football academy. (PHOTO: LaLiga)

SINGAPORE – Since launching the Unleash the Roar project to revive Singaporean football in March, he has always envisioned a unified playing philosophy at all levels: proactive, possession-based and fast.

If this style sounds familiar to you, it’s because it will be largely adapted from the ‘tiki taka’ football perfected by Spain and its top clubs such as Barcelona and Real Madrid – complex passes to unlock defenses, smart exits from the field. ball and relentless pressure to regain possession.

“Tiki taka” brought unprecedented success to the Spanish national team, which won two consecutive European Championships in 2008 and 2012, as well as the country’s very first World Cup in 2010. Meanwhile, Barca and Real have taken turns dominating European football, each winning four European Cups in the past 15 years.

It’s no surprise that many countries around the world are looking to emulate the Spanish way of playing football, and Unleash the Roar made this official last week by announcing a partnership with LaLiga, Spain’s top professional league. , to bring coaches to the bar. positions in 10 new football academies (SFA).

The goal is clear: Singapore’s budding football talent will learn a football system similar to that of their Spanish counterparts and hopefully find success through this eye-catching football brand.

Conversely, La Liga hopes that the philosophy and methodology of Spanish football can be successful abroad and attract more audiences to its popular league.

“We feel a sense of pride when we see our coaches and our methods succeed abroad, because it indicates that our methodology is a well thought out way to achieve goals and involve people around football”, Juan Florit, Head of Football LaLiga sport. projects, says Yahoo News Singapore.

We’re never the type to rest on our laurels; we are always looking forward to enriching our play models and training. Football is a dynamic sport, and we need to be able to assess and improve our procedures regarding players and team profiles. “

Evolved from total Dutch football

Interestingly, “tiki taka” has also evolved from the football philosophy of a foreign country – total Dutch football, where players can attack and defend accordingly, in any position, creating a fluid style that is entertaining and effective when applied intelligently.

This football brand was introduced to La Liga in the 1990s under former Barcelona coach and Dutch legend Johan Cruyff, who laid the groundwork for “tiki taka” at the Catalan club’s famous La Masia academy, which has produced world-class players such as Lionel Messi. , Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta.

Coupled with Spain’s traditional exuberance and technical excellence, the national team has gone from eternal underachievers to dominant winners, and Florit attributes such success to a culture of holistic player development from the grassroots to the professional stage.

“Spain had to go through a revolution of style and ecosystem as it transformed into a culture of adaptation to intelligence, technique and ball retention,” he said. he declares.

A coach with young footballers at a LaLiga football academy.  (PHOTO: LaLiga)

A coach with young footballers at a LaLiga football academy. (PHOTO: LaLiga)

“Our aim is to prepare players for the challenges they will face in competitions … taking into account the complexity of football where every action will be different from the last.

“In Spain we feel comfortable being the protagonists, always looking to move forward to bite the opponent by pressing after the loss of possession, with combative / variable offensive actions, high pressing and rapid attacks if we have the clear opportunity and the resources to do so. “

Such a proactive offensive mentality distinguishes the Spanish ‘tiki taka’ from the negative and counter-attacking football that prevailed in Europe, attracting fans enamored with the fluid football as Spain began to win trophies from the mid-2000s. .

More importantly, the emphasis on skill and intelligent reading of the game meant that those who are less physically built can still execute such a style of play.

“The distinct identity has also been designed and structured to suit the personality and physique of Spanish players, and particularly in Asia where players are less physically built or tall, this style of play is ideal for these nations. “, explained Florit.

Requirements specific to Spanish football

So when the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) approached La Liga to help shape the ‘Unleash the Roar’ style of football, the Spanish league praised the proposed partnership.

Nonetheless, in order to transplant a style of football that is successful in a European country into an Asian nation that has struggled to produce winning football lately, what are the requirements among Singapore’s young talent to play football? tika taka ”?

After all, the Singapore senior national team tried to play possession-based football when they hired Bernd Stange as their head coach in 2013. However, the German failed as the Lions failed badly in competitions. regional, which led to his eventual departure in 2016.

“Perhaps the most important requirements for young players would be focus, commitment and the responsibility to understand that it is also up to them to decide how far they can go,” said Florit.

“We have very specific requirements in our model, we need smart players who can analyze each game situation and think collectively, but we also need high technical standards per position to fulfill each game situation. It is not possible if the players are not mentally ready and have a certain physical level.

“Consistency, technical ability and tactical understanding can all be developed. “

Even local coaches will benefit from a partnership

With such a complex style of football taking a long time to develop, this is perhaps one of the main reasons why FAS want to integrate LaLiga coaches into their youth setup rather than into the senior national team. .

Its head of methodology, Philippe Aw, believes that young footballers will benefit greatly from being coached by Spanish coaches who have been part of one of the best youth systems in the world.

“In addition to (young people) acquiring superior technical skills from their coaches, La Liga will also facilitate the recruitment of specialist football coaches and analysts who can better leverage technology and data to further improve the progress of footballers. young footballers, “he said.

“Another key objective of the partnership with LaLiga will be to improve the skills of our local coaches. Through mutual exchanges of views and knowledge, soccer coaches in Singapore can be better equipped to train and prepare our next generation. of football players. “

Ultimately, FAS and La Liga hope the partnership works both ways: Singapore’s football standards receive a much needed boost, and LaLiga increases its audience base and league appreciation. .

“LaLiga is always looking to open barriers and share expertise to boost the sport we all love,” said Ivan Codina, LaLiga general manager for South East Asia, Japan, Korea and the Australia.

“We believe that if our football grows in other countries, we have a chance to grow as well. Through these partnerships we have the opportunity to learn, give back and improve constantly.”

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