Ethio-Germany player pursuing football consultancy
Born in Germany from an Ethiopian father and a German mother, David Beshah used to play in for different teams in Germany. He came to Ethiopia in 2013 and signed for Ethiopia Coffee FC playing for two years but an early injury has led him to stop playing football. Before he came to Ethiopia, he had finished his football management diploma in Germany. The former Ethiopian national team and Ethiopia Coffee player is now working as an agent for players and studying football consultancy. David is also trying to scout various Ethiopian players who are living abroad. Recently, he has scouted around 40 potential foreign-based Ethiopian players and suggested them to the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF). However, the EFF was unable to respond to the offer for the last ten months. Dawit Tolesa of The Reporter caught up with David Basha to discuss his career, expertise and other pertinent issues. Excerpts:
The Reporter: When did you come to Ethiopia for the first time?
David Beshah: Before I came here, I was invited by the Ethiopian national team. So, I already saw the potential and that is why I have decided to come here. I think at that time, I was the first one who came to play here. Everybody was trying to go to Europe to play football but I came back. I also wanted to work on football here after my career. I then started my own consulting company. Its main purpose was to consult clubs and the federation specifically on financial matters and on ways of generating sponsorship. It deals with financial sustainability. I realized the federation and the clubs were not following sustainable ways of securing funds and running costs. What I was basically trying to do in these three years was consulting on these issues. Furthermore, I was also consulting on food and nutrition. Apart from that, I was Gatoch Panom’s agent when he was playing in Russia.
How did you start playing football?
I started playing football at a young age for a local club in Germany. I started probably around at the age of four or five. I went to a youth academy and spent 4 years there. I was also attending my education at the same time. I studied until grade 12 and went to a technical and vocational school. I had a good education and guidance background from the people around me. My first club was Horremer SV. It was a small club. I also had the chance to be elected in club FC Cologne E division for three years. It was called Football academy of Cologne. I then played for club Alemannia Aachen for the under-17 team.
How was your stay at the Ethiopian National team?
I think I was 18 when I first came to Ethiopia. Swenet Bishaw was the national team coach back then. It was with three players that I had come with. We have trained for three or four weeks with the club but we were not recruited. I think it was because of the Germany passport that we had. After that, I came for the African cup of Nation in 2012. I have also stayed with the national team for four weeks. Once again, they didn’t choose me in the squad. I was also called up by former national team coach Marriano Barreto.
Let’s talk about your stay in Ethiopian coffee FC? How was it like?
One of the best decision’s I have made was to play for Ethiopian Coffee. I was very excited to play in one of the most famous clubs in the country which had a huge fan base. During the first years, I had to adopt and adjust to a lot of things. But the longer I stayed, the better I adjusted myself with the team.
So, Ethiopia coffee is your best club?
I have only played for Ethiopian Coffee and I have not experienced any other club apart from Ethiopian Coffee. However, there were several clubs who have shown interest but I rejected them. I liked Ethiopian Coffee.
Tell me more about the consultancy activities you are carrying out right now?
Well, my main goal is to consult football on financial terms because that is very crucial for sustainability. I have started these three years ago. I have seen many clubs facing financial crisis. Some of them failed to pay salaries to couches and players. Cost of living and expenditure is increasing from time to time and as a football club your expenditure and need for more money also increases. You will need to accommodate your players in good hotels and cater them with good food. When playing international games, your expenditure increases even more. When I first started the consultancy work, nobody was interested. But from time to time, the clubs and other stakeholders in the sector started to realize this and have shown interest. You need professional help and expertise. The demand for more consultancy work will also increase in the future. My mission is to develop Ethiopian football and assist this goal with the expertise and experience that I have.
What do you think about foreign-based Ethiopian national players?
There are a lot of Ethiopian national players out side. When you see many successful African national teams, there are a lot of foreign players in the squad. Small national teams in Africa are qualifying to African cup of nation and when you ask why, you realize that they have many youth academies and they work really hard on developing their football. The football federation also shoulders the biggest responsibility. They need to invest in the youth and work relentlessly to develop the sector. There are many foreign based Ethiopian national players who really want to play and contribute to the development of their country’s football; the federation needs to consider that. Currently they have a closed door policy. There is no contact and platform that deals with foreign based Ethiopian national’s players.
What do you suggest for Ethiopian football development?
Generally, Ethiopian football has a huge potential. There is a huge fan base. People love football. This is the most important part. I think there has to be proper facilities and materials for the youth to grow. We need open minded and encouraging management at the football federation. Optimism and willingness to accept constructive criticism and assistance is needed. I do not currently see this. This needs to change.
What is your next plan?
I will have to go to Germany now. I will hopefully finish my study by next month. I will continue with the consultancy work I am currently trying to do. I want to extend this to other European countries. But mainly I aspire to assist Ethiopian football.