‘We need to start building the structures’ – De Reus demands more support for women’s football in Cameroon

GOAL | The former Australia coach has outlined the developmental agenda of the European football body in the Central African nation

Former Australia coach Hesterine De Reus believes there is a need to start building better structures for women’s football to grow in Cameroon.

The Indomitable Lionesses reached the Round of 16 on their second attempt at the Women’s World Cup in France last year and are on the brink of securing a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The country’s progress in the women’s game underscored the Uefa-Assist partnership with the European governing body.

The former Netherlands international, who was part of the project, insists that more investment and technical support in all aspects of the game are needed to grow women’s football in the country.

“We’ve (Uefa) analyzed the situation and spoken with Fecafoot about the next steps,” she told BBC Sport.

“We’re going to help with coaching education, the youth league and talent development plan by providing technical support in all these areas.

“The passion for women’s football in Cameroon is surreal. Football is in the genes of Cameroonians and they play everywhere but I feel at youth level it has to be better organized.

“There are a lot of young talented players here but there is a need for more investment. If it is well organized, we can easily identify the young talented players and create more opportunities for them to further develop.

“Women’s football is developing very fast on an international level and if Cameroon have the ambition to continuously qualify for the World Cup, we need to start building the structures.”

Besides twice reaching the knockout stages of the World Cup, Cameroon are four-time finalists at the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations but those successes have had virtually no impact at grassroots level.

The Women’s Professional Football League launched in the country in 2019 with 16 teams, but have struggled to take place regularly due to financial problems and poor playing conditions.

The 59-year-old veteran coach, who led Jordan to 2010 Arabia Women’s Cup title triumph, expects improved support at grassroots level for the women’s game to thrive in the country.

“I think Cameroon has been excellent on the international stage, qualifying twice for the World Cup and going past the group stages [especially] given that the infrastructure is not so developed yet,” she continued.

“They have to start organizing competitions for the youth. Fecafoot (the Cameroon Football Federation) officials told me they’re starting an under 15 league for the boys so we need to find ways for the girls to play football as well.

“There should be cooperation between schools so that girls can have more playing time. There’s a need to organize regular training sessions and regular matches to find talented players.

“But once this is done, you must have structures to develop your best players to become stars.

“If you want to have a good national team, you have to look at all the structures linked to the sport to create good players for the national team such as a national team program, a talent development system and opportunity for more girls. I try to analyze all the things that can have an impact on the game.”

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