Pedro Mil-Homens "The key ingredient to success is the quality of Portuguese talent"
The panel "Youth Development as a Model for Club Sustainability" had the presence of Pedro Mil-Homens, Cláudio Couto, João Henriques and Luís Gonçalves.
On the last day of the first edition of the Thinking Football Summit, the Arena Stage hosted the panel "Youth Development as a Model of Club Sustainability", which had the presence of Pedro Mil-Homens, General Director of Benfica Campus, Cláudio Couto, CEO of SC Braga and also João Henriques and Luís Gonçalves, coaches of Marítimo M. and Interclube, respectively.
Pedro Mil-Homens, the leading figure in the youth ranking of the Reds, kicked off the panel with his opinion on what makes young Portuguese players a role model. "In my point of view, the key to success is the quality of Portuguese talent," he said.
The representative also expressed his wishes for the future of youth football. "We need a sounder youth football. More training and less strategy is needed. We don't need the Guardiolas of the U-7s," he concluded.
Cláudio Couto agreed with Pedro Mil-Homens when it came to Portuguese talent, stating that "Portugal has plenty of talent, it breathes football and the kids follow the several examples of success that have emerged over the years."
When asked if this bet on young talent is the right way forward, SC Braga's CEO had no doubts. "From a reasoned point of view, I would say that clubs in Portugal have no other way out but to bet on training. There is no capacity for signing, therefore is constant pressure to balance the operating results. I think clubs should continue to invest in what is so good about them, which is talent and the coaches who are qualified to develop that talent.
The helmsman of Marítimo M., João Henriques, shared his vision on the subject, introducing his views as a coach. "Often, the results are always above any kind of project. Anything that takes longer to build will also be more long-lasting if it's done well."
"More stability for the coaches to work", was the wish of João Henriques regarding the future of training and football in Portugal.
Lastly, Luís Gonçalves, currently coaching in Angola and with great experience in Portuguese-speaking African countries, highlighted the need to strengthen the connection between Portuguese clubs and those countries. "There is a lot of talent in Africa, but the infrastructures are not the same and neither is the organisation. Portuguese clubs should invest in the strong historical link that exists. It would be beneficial to make this approach, because talent exists all over the world, but you have to be able to find it."
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