Honduras and Spain boost collaboration for growing the global game

  • Tripartite cooperation between FENAFUTH, RFEF, FIFA bears fruit

  • Delegates from Honduran FA in Barcelona for technical exchange

  • MAs strengthen their bilateral ties, aligning with FIFA’s Vision 2020-2023

FIFA’s Vision 2020-2023 seeks to boost global football development through cooperation and this was on display in Barcelona last month, as a Honduran FA delegation shared a technical exchange with their Spanish counterparts.

The event took place as part of the cooperation agreement between the Honduran (FENAFUTH) and Spanish (RFEF) federations promoted and coordinated by the FIFA Member Association Americas Sub-division.

The trip, involving an eight-person Honduran delegation, continued this fruitful collaboration.

“I think that these types of exchanges, and this one in particular, have enormous value for [football] associations. To start with, because of the amount they learn from the association organising the exchange, but also because of the lessons that the association receiving this exchange will also teach on their return home,” said Sara Panizo, Manager in the Members Association Americas Sub-division at FIFA.

“We truly believe are useful in reducing these so-called barriers, these differences we have, especially in terms of knowledge and how different countries understand football,” added Panizo, who also attended the visit.

The Cooperation Agreement signed in 2019 established a technical exchange project, supported by the FIFA Forward Programme, as the catalyst to grow football education in Honduras and ensure the support of the RFEF.

The focus has been on reviewing the coaching licensing process in Honduras and improving the levels of coaching in the country and the partnership has gone from strength to strength.

In a first step, a Spanish instructor visited the Central American country in October 2019 to review and improve the curriculum of the FENAFUTH A Coaching Licence Category course and run a seminar for current and future Honduran instructors.

The exchange was able to continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with further courses taking place online.

However, the exchange took a real boost with the in-person visit to Barcelona. During the visit, delegates oversaw trainings at RCD Espanyol, attended coaching seminars and joined the annual Dia de L’entrenador Congress. It was a unique opportunity for the visitors to watch first-hand some of the most experienced RFEF experts.

“It’s certainly been an unrivalled experience for us here (from) Honduras, being able to finish it by watching football training at the elite level,” said Luis Alvarado, the current coach of the Honduras men’s U-20 team.

“It’s been very educational and useful for us, and I know we’re going to make the most of it and take it back to Honduras.”

Tripartite cooperation between FENAFUTH, RFEF, FIFA

That is the key for the Honduras delegation; to take what they have learnt in Barcelona and adapt it for their own particular brand of football.

“We are also aware of our own shortcomings with regards to the environment where our children and youngsters play, and even our professional players,” admitted experienced Honduran coach Mauro Reyes.

“That makes us compare [the shortcomings], analyse the differences and find out where we are failing and what things we can improve.”

Honduras’ men have qualified for five of the last six summer Olympic Games, finishing fourth at Rio 2016, and have also reached the FIFA World Cup™ three times. However, La H have never made it out of the group stages at a men’s World Cup and that is the next step they hope to take.

“What I have seen the most here and what I have liked the most is that the planning is respected – and this is important. The difference is that, sometimes in our countries, we plan something but ends up doing something very different or we leave things half-finished,” said Yoni Rivera, who is an Executive Committee member at FENAFUTH.

“If we change this, we are sure that we’ll be able to achieve great things in the world of football. We have already proven that at the Olympics. We have done well in them, and like I say, if we change how we develop our local, national championships, I am sure that we will see results in no time.”

The strong and active working relationship between Honduras and Spain is set to continue with the implementation of the second phase of the cooperation agreement. This plan will focus on creating and developing a Pro Coaching License in Honduras that will further boost the growth of elite football in a country that has a great potential to succeed at the international level.

"We are very pleased with the exchange between the RFEF and FENAFUTH,” said José Ernesto Mejía, General Secretary of the Honduras FA.

“We had the opportunity to send eight instructors to participate in the "Train the Trainers" course in Barcelona, for ten days, with a work plan established by the School of Coaches of Catalonia with a hybrid work basis between classroom and pitch. We thank FIFA, through FIFA Forward, for the constant support to carry out this exchange and the RFEF for all the collaboration and good disposition with our coaches.”

Pep Sansó, Director of the RFEF National School of Coaches, agreed that the continuing exchange was a success.

“Having been able to share knowledge and experiences with FENAFUTH has helped us to see a different reality, with other ideas and ways of acting, which will help us to improve,” said Sansó.

"The collaboration with the Honduran Federation has been full, we hope it has been profitable for them and we hope to be able to maintain it in the future, since from the RFEF we are always predisposed to exchange knowledge, opinions and experiences with other international federations.”

Several cooperation agreements between MAs with FIFA as main coordinator are currently running across the world to enhance capacity, knowledge, structure and strategic planning in key areas of football such coaching, refereeing and women’s football, making football truly global.