That said, what matters now is the continuous development of women’s football in Luxembourg and creating a solid player base. This is also part of Santos’ remit as head of the women’s youth teams at the association.
Since the announcement of their participation in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, interest in the national team has grown. In order to increase this further, the association is making the most of social media. For example, every ten days from September, a new player will be introduced on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok.
“I knew nothing about TikTok before, but now I’m up to speed on that too,” the affable Luxembourger says with a smile. “We want to show young girls that they can play football.”
And perhaps eventually make the transition into the senior team which, in Santos’ opinion, is nothing if not passionate about the game.
“We’ve got a generation for whom football is the first thing they think of in the morning and the last thing at night. At first I was a little taken aback and said to myself: ‘Okay, let’s see how this goes’. After our initial training sessions and conversations, I realised that they were just waiting for someone to take them by the hand and say: ‘we can train, we can achieve something’. I’ve trained with the senior team at -10°C. Rain or shine, they’re always there,” the 39-year-old says enthusiastically.
“For example, last year we’d planned a friendly international against the Faroe Islands, only for it to be cancelled due to Covid. It was scheduled for a Sunday but when I told the players the match was off, they asked me if we could meet for training instead. That wouldn’t happen with the men, who’d jump at the free day. But if my players want to train, then that’s what we do. I’m not going to say no. That’s a difference I’ve noticed. The women here want to learn and progress, which means I head to training both contented and motivated,” he concludes.
For Luxembourg, the building blocks are now in place and conditions look good for the women’s game there to really grow.