Nothing is more interesting than football: there are so many factors you have to deal with as a coach during a football season. Players who speak a different language, a very short or long preseason, many or difficult trips for away games, perform on several occasions during extreme weather (very hot or very cold), … those are only a few examples of factors coaches have to deal with.
Every club and country has its own specific environment and they (co)determine between winning and losing. Coaches continuously have to make decisions on how to deal with them.
I’ll explain more about external factors in this blog and I’ll give some tips and tricks on how to deal with them as a coach.
In July 2018, I started working as the Assistant/Football Fitness Coach of Al Batin FC in the staff of Frank Vercauteren. I'm very honored and happy to have entered this new challenge as his assistant for the 8th season after working together in KRC Genk, Al Jazira and Krylia Sovetov Samara.
Al Batin FC is based in the Saudian city Hafr Al Batin, 430KM north of Riyadh and 100KM from the border with Kuwait. The climate is dry and hot with current temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees. The stadium is currently being renewed with a new grass pitch instead of an artificial pitch. It's always very interesting to work and live in a different culture. In Hafr Al Batin, I experience a great and warm hospitality!
It's Al Batin FC's third season in the Saudi Premier League, the last two seasons they ended the league on the 11th place. Since the beginning of this season, teams are allowed to have 8 foreign players in the selection (7 are allowed in the squad for league games).
Vincent Euvrard (Assistant Coach) and Lieven de Veirman (Goalkeeper Coach) complete the technical staff together with Yousef, our local Assistant Coach.
The training sessions are usually in the evening (currently at 18h15) after 'Maghrib'.
Our preseason lasted 7,5 weeks with 2 training weeks in Hafr Al Batin, 1 training week in Qassim where we played 2 games against Al Taawoun and Al Tai and a 16-day international camp (2 till 17 august 2018) in Belgium (Martin's red Hotel in Tubize). We trained in the national training centre and played games against Roda JC (Holland), RC Lens (France) and RSC Anderlecht (Belgium). The last 2 weeks of preseason, we trained in Hafr Al Batin and took a minitrip to Al Kobar to play a game against Al Qad-Siah.
Two away league games have already passed, with a game in Al Faisaly (2-2) and one in Al Ettifaq (3-2). Our next games are against 2 top teams in the league, Al Hilal and Al Ahli.
And 20 years after missing the WC in the US, 2014 might be seen as England’s statistically worst World Cup performance ever, ending up with just one point after two losses to Uruguay and Italy and a goalless draw with Costa Rica in a dead rubber.