Staff reporter  

Thirty Bhutanese coaches will undergo a five-day intensive course starting April 10  at the Royal Thimphu College through the WorldCoaches Programme of the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB).

The all-time Dutch World Cup player, Johan Neeskens, and his colleague Bert Zuurma, will facilitate the course focusing on coaching and life skills.

Johan Neeskens, who featured in two consecutive World Cup finals (1974 and 1978), has been with WorldCoaches Programme since 2012.

He was the first Dutch player ever to score in a World Cup Final.  He was also a player for Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona.

Bert Zuurman is a former Dutch football striker. He made his professional debut in the 1990–1991 season for FC Groningen. He later played for Heracles Almelo, SC Heerenveen, and BV Veendam, among others. He also worked for almost five years as a coach and education director at the Ozone Academy in Bangalore, India.

The WorldCoaches Programme flourished around the world since 2010. Since then, more than 16,000 coaches from 65 countries availed themselves of the training.

The programme is back in Bhutan after a 20-year break. Experts from KNVB visited Bhutan in 2002 and 2003.

This time, Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) and Acosa Sports India expedited the arrival of officials.

KNVB is a popular and respected partner of Asian Countries. It has many cooperation agreements with football associations to develop football. Football Education Support by KNVB to Asian Football Confederation began in 1996.

Johan Neeskens said:  “Anyone passionate about guiding children in a positive way to help them grow in life should get the chance to join our courses. I’m happy to  work with the local coaches.”

He said that after the pandemic, it’s time that the youth all over the world are back on the field and that they are trained by well-educated coaches, who do not only look at performance on the field, but also look at the well-being of children and guidance off the field.

“Football should always make you happy,” he said.

Johan van Geijn, the founder of WorldCoaches, said: “We can inform children about healthy lifestyles and teach social skills in a fun way through football, which will benefit them in all aspects of their life.”

BFF’s general secretary, Ugyen Wangchhuk, said the training is paramount as coaches play a vital role in nurturing young talents.

Officiating technical director of BFF, Yeshey Dorji, said the event would also emphasise the importance of sports as a powerful tool to promote social development. “Coaches play a key role in this process.”