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Five-star Football Training

Brazil is known for producing a tremendous quantity of excellent footballers. But talent alone is not enough to become an outstanding player, as extraordinary levels of preparation and development are also needed. The Brazilian football association (CBF) offers this at its own football school, the EBF.
Who taught football to Brazilians? If you ever tried to find answers to this question, but never got there, maybe we can help you! Brazil is the country where children become fans of this or that team before they are even born. It is also the country where we are accustomed to saying that there are 180 million coaches, not fans. Nevertheless, these two popular sayings sound like cliches and do not help to explain our domination of the sport. For a long time, it was believed that Brazilian football talent came from the cradle and not from youth team preparation by coaches, doctors, physiotherapists and managers. That school of thought is wrong. Brazilian sporting culture, so strongly linked to the country’s identity, is attributed to a wealth of talent and natural gifts, but never serious specialized work. It is unjust not to give Brazil enough credit for so many titles and so much art and beauty.
“People think that players grow from nothing. This is not true,” says Brazil’s national team coach Dunga, captain of the winners of the 1994 FIFA World Cup™. He and his assistant coach, Jorginho, Brazil’s right back in the USA, are the figureheads of a new trend at the CBF.
“We have the best football on the planet, we have won five FIFA World Cups™, every year one of our players stands out as one of the best of the season, and we have the athlete of the century, Pele. But that’s not enough! We need to keep developing our game and our players.” That was the CBF’s thinking when in 2005 it created the Escola Brasileira de Futebol (EBF), the Brazilian football school. Tasked with developing the sport in a democratic and efficient manner throughout the whole country, the first steps taken by the establishment have been a success.
The idea was to understand what we had to learn and what we had to teach. Creating an official football coaches course, making refereeing professional, forging closer links with universities, establishing a network between the CBF and its local federations and devising courses focused on sports medicine and administration should in theory produce even more football experts across the country, who can then show to the world how our wonder kids are born.
FIFA’s Development Division actively participated in the process of creating the EBF. Those who think that the financial resources approved by the Goal Programme were only channelled into facilities, auditoriums, computers and software fail to appreciate the full extent of the project. The partnership between both entities is still very recent, even though we are proud to say that we already have excellent exchange programmes and clinics, better-trained referees, a refereeing teaching board, a project for an official coaches course and partnerships and exchanges with private businesses and universities. In three years, the dreams have started to become reality.
In considering the task that the CBF faced in setting up the EBF, it is worth pointing out that Brazil has the geographic dimensions of a whole continent, with an area of 8.5 million square kilometres that occupies 47 per cent of South America, and that there are many different regional and cultural differences that make this vast country very difficult to manage.
Nevertheless, the CBF has never felt intimidated by such adverse conditions and has carried forward the EBF’s project as part of a plan to modernise Brazilian football.
Since 2005, many events, courses, exchange programmes and congresses have marked milestones in our short history, e.g. FIFA FUTURO III courses for administrators, FIFA courses for coaches and refereeing instructors, sports medicine congresses, national seminars, football clinics with CBF professionals held in partnership with Brazilian clubs, etc. But the school’s first step was to hold a national coaches course by teleconference, a small step but an extremely ambitious one.
A further revolutionary project was recently developed by the CBF, together with the EBF and its local federations: the DURT-e. DURT-e is an online registration system for all professional players in Brazil that uses the EBF’s network at each of the 27 local federations and software developed by the CBF’s IT department.
Another important event, which surprised many because of its great originality, was the exchange promoted between Cirque du Soleil athletes and youth team players, as well as the Canadian group’s participation at the CBF’s annual party, the “Craque Brasileirao”. We were able to share our experience of football with one of world’s biggest entertainment companies.
The EBF welcomes foreign athletes, managers and coaches to the selecao’s official training centre at Granja Comary. “Football was born in England, when the British had an empire and used to travel all around the world. People of railways introduced the ball to South America, oilers to the Middle East,” says the American journalist Franklin Foer in his book How Football Explains the World. The author compares sport with the politics and history of the last century. He also says that globalisation and technological developments tend to erode differences, and that includes playing styles.
The CBF’s “Top Training Brazil” exchange programme takes the theory of football art beyond our frontiers, welcoming coaches and players from all around the world to our official training centre. “We consider this a pleasure and a duty rather than a challenge. Classes are given in English and topics such as talent identification, skill development (the Brazilian flair), deceptive movements and small-sided games are taught to show why our country keeps producing stars. Everybody who joins the CBF’s official football clinic takes part in training and plays friendly matches in accordance with the age and the technical level of the group. The schedule includes two daily training sessions, balanced meals, match analysis, lectures and one day off per week. There are also three friendly matches per week if the group reaches its development target in training.
Teams stay at Granja Comary – or, if the groups exceed the maximum capacity, at hotels at Teresopolis, where all Brazil’s national squads do their training. Transport by private bus, health insurance, translators, security guards, meals and everything needed for training is provided by the CBF. Qualified staff provide the athletes with the five-star football education, making the EBF a five-star business.