FIFA Forward boosts collaboration between Lithuania and Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht
Youth Development Partnership Centers in Lithuania
The Lithuanian Football Federation celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2022
Lithuania hosted the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup™
The Lithuanian Football Federation celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2022 at a time of great progress and excitement for football in the Baltic state. Lithuanian football is looking to build on the success of hosting the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup™ 2021 last year, the first major FIFA tournament since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. To progress, the LFF has turned to the fundamentals and is working with Belgian team RSC Anderlecht, one of the best producers of young talent in the world, to improve youth development and cultivate best training practices. The programs of LFF, Anderlecht and youth football in Lithuania have been brought together under the FIFA Forward campaign.
“The main reason was the idea of importing Anderlecht’s youth development program and know-how to Lithuania,” explained Deimantas Bička, project manager of the LFF and RSC Anderlecht program. “A plan has therefore been drawn up by the Lithuanian Football Federation and Anderlecht, with the help of the FIFA Forward programme.” “The long-term vision is based on the fact that two, three years ago, our youth development system was in very bad shape. Anderlecht allowed us to try a modern approach to youth development.
“We know that Belgium are at the top of the rankings [FIFA men’s] world ranking for years. We are able to receive the know-how, professionalism and experience of their academy. “We really hope that in three, four, five years we can emulate at least part of what the Belgian club is doing – one of the leaders in youth development. That’s the vision.
“It is an honor for the RSCA to partner with a national federation such as Lithuania and for them to entrust us with the future of their talents. From the start, we felt a perfect fit with the LFA in terms of goals, potential and values. We will ensure that this project is managed with the care and attention that we show daily with our own academy,” said Aaron Kanwar, Director of RSCA International after signing the three-year partnership. The first two years of the project saw an intensive transfer of youth football methodology and an increase in the use of video analysis, player testing and long-term player development planning in Lithuanian youth football . The project became widely known in Lithuania as the “Anderlecht” program.
“Probably the main (principle) is the structure of a training session. Each exercise is linked. The training session is not chaotic, it has a theme,” said LFF and Baltic Football Academy youth team coach Arturas Svaikevicius. “Constantly, from the first exercise to the end of the session, everything happens according to this theme. The benefits of the program are felt at all levels.
“The training sessions are better structured and all groups adhere to the main concept of the academy. Now there is structure, more detailed planning and control over the process,” added Georgas Freidgeimas, a fitness trainer working on the project. “I think we’ve seen the biggest improvements in the structure, and that influences the quality of our training sessions; they are more intense, [a lot] better, [and] the quality is really improving. The LFF celebrates its 100th anniversary with a milestone celebration on May 7.