13 May 2021, 14h56

Since 2019, Sport Lisboa e Benfica has established a partnership with the Chongqing Football Association, with the aim of developing the youth football ecosystem in that Chinese province. 

The partnership has been under the technical coordination of Fernando Costa and the signs of evolution in youth soccer at the local level are already quite visible. The creation of the first regional championship, called "Chongqing Youth Football League", was an important step towards strengthening the project of developing local young footballers.

The impact of Benfica's work methodologies has been crucial and praised by all involved, generating strong prospects for evolution and growth in the future. These are some of the conclusions of Du Xueyong, vice president and secretary-general of the Chongqing Football Association...

Equipa juvenil da Associação de Futebol de Chongqing

What is your assessment of the partnership established with SL Benfica in 2019?

The partnership with Benfica is based on full communication and mutual trust. In particular, Benfica’s technical coordinator, Mr. Fernando Costa, has worked in Chongqing for several years, which has contributed to the development of Chongqing’s youth football career. After the establishment of a cooperative relationship, both sides earnestly fulfilled the terms of cooperation. Youth football in Chongqing has also benefited from this. Therefore, our cooperation with Benfica is of great significance and potential for future development.

What impact has SL Benfica's presence had on the reality of football youth development in Chongqing province?

The cooperation with Benfica has brought advanced technical and managerial concepts to the development of Chongqing youth football. And we apply these concepts and knowledge not only to youth football training, but also to promote the improvement of the level and ability of football coaches, to the construction of the youth training scientific system and the improvement of the competition system. It can be said that Benfica's positive impact on the development of Chongqing youth football is all-round.

Fernando Costa

What’s your appreciation about the intervention of Benfica’s coordinator Fernando Costa as a vehicle for SL Benfica's methodology and know-how?

Mr. Fernando Costa, the technical coordinator of Benfica, is also the technical director of the Chongqing Youth Training Center and the head coach of the elite teams 2008 and 2009. As a head coach, he passes on his professional knowledge to our coaches and players through team training every day; as a technical director, through weekly technical meetings he provides us with many advanced training methods, his opinions and suggestions on the construction and management of the youth training system.

What is the importance of the recent creation of the regular regional championship for the development of the local football context?

This is an innovation in our competition system. We hope that through the regular organization of the leagues for all age groups, we can promote the improvement of the city's football training level so that the players can make rapid progress, and ultimately promote the development and improvement of the youth football level in Chongqing.

Equipa juvenil da Associação de Futebol de Chongqing

How was this initiative welcomed by the football clubs/schools involved in the project?

The Chongqing Youth League is a U13 league. A total of 10 teams participated in it, from 8 schools and football clubs. All participating teams gave a positive evaluation of the league and this league was recognized by schools, parents, and society. Now that more schools and clubs have requested to apply for joining the youth league, we are also considering allowing more schools and clubs to participate in the league in the new season.

What are the main objectives and advantages that you see in the creation of the Chongqing Youth Football League?

Our main objective is to promote the improvement of Chongqing youth football level, establish and improve Chongqing's football talent training system; and our advantage is that Chongqing has a good football foundation and atmosphere. There are many professional football coaches and youth football training schools and clubs. This is the basis for us to create multi-age youth leagues.

There are not many cities in China that can organize regional youth football leagues. Chongqing has gained an advantage in the competition system through the creation of the league, but this is only the first step. We will consider further improving the competition system on the basis of this league, and plan to establish more age groups of youth leagues to build a foundation for the establishment and improvement of Chongqing's football talent system.

Equipa juvenil da Associação de Futebol de Chongqing

To what extent can the partnership with SL Benfica be a determining factor for the development of young footballers in Chongqing province?

Since the two sides formally established a cooperative relationship, Benfica’s advanced concepts have had a great impact on the development of youth football in Chongqing. Our job is to absorb advanced concepts and integrate them with the actual situation in Chongqing. Through the cooperation, we want to create a scientific training system and management system suitable for the development of Chongqing youth football. This is also the original intention of our cooperation with Benfica.

Photos: SL Benfica
Last update: Thursday, May 13, 2021

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