The date 16 January 2012 could be regarded as one of major importance for football in Romania, as the Romanian Football Federation (FRF) presented its new strategy for development of the sport over the next three years.
The result of five months' research and analysis, the plan was unveiled by FRF national technical director Marian Mihail, who was appointed in August to curtail what was seen as a slide in standards in Romanian football at all levels. The 53-year-old former international defender telling UEFA.com: "We lost our identity as a football nation."
Mihail, who returned to Romania after a period of almost ten years spent as a coach and director of youth academies in the Middle East, feels that to regain that identity they need to concentrate on what they do best. "We don't need to copy anyone, we only need to develop our concept taking into consideration our qualities," he said.
We have never been a football nation which used physical power, like the northern European countries, because this wasn't our strength," Mihail added. "We based our concept on ball possession in the 1970s and 80s, as well as on counterattacks in the 90s."
Crucial to the strategy is the fact that all Romania's national teams, from the youth levels upwards, will have to play using the same system and style as the senior national side with only players who are accustomed to this style of football being considered for selection by head coach Victor Pițurcă.
The overall plan has three steps, the first of these being the improvement of technical skills. "At the moment our players are using long balls, without creativity and imagination," says Mihail. "When they are pressed, they lose their self-confidence. This issue will have to be improved at all levels, starting at the base."
The second step is represented by the development of a genuine Romanian style of playing. "It is crucial, working like this, to maximise our qualities and to minimise the traditional weak points," Mihail points out. "The main aim and the essence of football is to play in a way that is attacking, attractive and efficient."
The final step is the capacity to innovate and adapt, with Mihail stressing: "it is possible that in one, two or no matter how many years, this strategy will not keep pace with the overall development of world football. That's why we will have to be able to innovate at any time.
"We don't need to copy anyone. Of course, we will have to see how the bigger football nations have improved and achieved their targets, to adapt their secrets, but the main issue for us is to be ourselves, to pass from the stage of applying what other nations are doing as innovators."
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