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Cruyff Football targets Chinese market with legend’s coaching model

By Rob Gibson    10 Oct 2017
Johan Cruyff, shown here scoring for Barcelona against Lazio in 1975, revolutionised coaching using Total Football principles / PA/PA Wire/PA Images
You have to do it the right way – everything starts with the grassroots
– Wim Jonk, manager, Cruyff Football

China could be the future home of Total Football, as a coaching body dedicated to Johan Cruyff’s footballing principles targets Beijing schools.

Cruyff Football was set up by former Holland midfielder Wim Jonk as an education, coaching and consultancy body designed to teach young players and coaches how to use Cruyff’s principles of attractive, attacking football.

As the organisation celebrates its first anniversary, Jonk, who coached with Cruyff at Ajax Amsterdam, revealed plans to expand into the US and China following success with clubs and federations in Holland and Belgium – starting with a Montessori school in Beijing.

“They’re very interested in football in China but they have to start from scratch and everything is based around the school system,” Jonk told Sports Management.

“We visited the schools, did some clinics and now we’re going to build that up.”

Sport in China, particularly football, has received huge investment over the past year, with president Xi Jinping placing additional emphasis on the importance of the nation's growth and success in the market.

Describing China as “very interesting”, Jonk knows that market penetration can be a challenge for overseas operators.

“In China it’s very political,” he said. “We spent a lot of time there and realised that to do anything, you have to do it the right way. Everything starts with the grassroots – we’re going to work with a Montessori school in Beijing.”

Read the full interview with Wim Jonk in the September/October edition of Sports Management.

Former Dutch star Wim Jonk learned from Cruyff when the pair worked on Ajax's youth development programme and co-managed Cruyff Football
China is growing into an ambitious footballing nation, with the support of president Xi Jinping
Johan Cruyff  Wim Jonk  Total Football  China  Beijing  Cruyff Football 
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