Benchy Estama

In June 2015 FUSA’s trial was organized, in Port-au-Prince (Haiti), in collaboration with Fondation Athlètic d’Haïti. During a period of 5 days, FUSA selected 4 players and one coach to come to Belgium. Here, they could gain knowledge and insight about the European football system. Furthermore, they were introduced to a first division team (STVV), where they trained and learned for one month. 

Did your internship in Belgium change your perception on football? How? 

My internship in Belgium changed my perception on European football for the better. During my journey to Belgium I realized how football should be and how football players should be treated. I have learnt how to build my own confidence. Moreover, I’ve learned how and when an athlete should eat and practice. The trip to Belgium made me see and believe in my own capacity and taught me how to be a winner.

Looking back on this experience, would you change anything within the Haitian football? 

Even before I came to Belgium, I already realized that Haitian football needed some changes. But after my trip to Belgium, I had a better view on where these changes needed to be made and what they included. My biggest revelation was the one of the youth football education. Belgium focusses a lot on the youth coaches, the staff and their sport facilities. In that way they also include parents and fans. There is a lot more involvement within the youth football in Belgium, which allows the children to adapt to the real game from a young age on. In Haiti, youth education in football is rather seen as irrelevant. Something to keep young children busy. I believe that, if this changes, Haiti will be able to participate on a higher level, within the football community. z

On forehand, what did you expect of your trip to Belgium? Where there certain habits or cultural differences that surprised you? 

Before I arrived in Belgium I had little knowledge about the country. Fortunately I already received some information about the country from the CEO of FUSA (Paul Moïse). The biggest surprise, was the mentality of the Belgian inhabitants. They are more reserved. In Belgium it seemed like it’s not common to start a conversation to people you don’t know. People are more introvert than in Haiti and they like to be left to themselves. In the beginning this was hard for me to adapt to; especially because I was already miles from home. Another thing that took me by surprise, was that a lot of people didn’t know Haiti. If I referred to my country, most people glanced at me strange or started to talk about Tahiti. 

How was it like to live in a professional football club? Are there a lot of differences with Haiti? 

For what I experienced in Belgium, I can say there are no real professional clubs in Haiti. So it’s understandable that there is a huge difference. Clubs in Belgium are well structured and very well organized. They have the right equipment and personnel for everything. In Haiti we were glad to have a decent ball and a field with grass on it. 

Describe your experience with FUSA? How did the cooperation go? What were the arrangements?

My experience with FUSA was great. I enjoyed the trip to Belgium and I learned more about football than I could ever learn in a lifetime in Haiti. I didn’t only learn a lot about the game, but it also gave me a boost to perform better and train harder. This adventure made me realize what my potential was and how to work towards my dreams. I can not thank FUSA enough for this life changing experience.