KVC Westerlo organises Dutch language lessons for players who do not speak the language or speak it insufficiently. The language lessons not only ensure that the players understand each other better, but also help them in their daily lives. At the same time, the players realise that they are setting an example and that they had better learn the language of the country in which they live and work.
Foreign football players who come to Belgium often have a hard time learning Dutch. Dutch is a complex language and not all football players have a knack for languages. Nevertheless, football is a team sport and it is important that the players can communicate clearly and quickly with each other. The players also have a dependent relationship with the coach, so it is important that they understand each other thoroughly. And there is only one way to do that: by speaking a common language.
At the same time, football players have an exemplary role to play. By getting started in Flanders and learning the language, they send a powerful signal to anyone who moves to another country: you only get ahead if you have sufficient command of the language and are willing to learn it.
Practice-oriented language lessons for foreign football players
The Dutch language lessons are very practice-oriented. Naturally, a lot of attention is paid to understanding Dutch. But reading and writing Dutch is also covered. In addition, the players are strongly encouraged to speak Dutch (dare to). They are guided and encouraged in small groups to communicate in Dutch outside the lessons as well. Not only with each other, but also with the coach, referees, journalists and supporters.
Léo Seydoux, the Swiss player who came over from BSC Young Boys last year, takes part in the lessons given by Leen Buekers. It is also important for young players and upcoming talents to master the Dutch language. That is why Wally Fofana, among others, participates in the lessons voluntarily. He recently came over from the Gambian BK Milan FC and is described as a great talent. In his introductory video, he used the now famous words “and all together”, but in the meantime, Wally already speaks quite a bit of Dutch. Not only does this help him in his daily life, but it also makes it easier for him to integrate into the team.
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