German football academy in Addis
Germany’s top tier football club, FC Bayern Munich has plans to open an under-17 football academy in Addis Ababa in the coming years. Delegations from the football club were in Addis Ababa for a couple of days dealing with the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) and the Federal Sports Commission. The Germans and the EFF had a long-term relation through Yohakim Fikert, a German football expert, for a couple of years. However, it failed to make the expected changes to Ethiopia’s football and its development. On Wednesday 17, 2019 the EFF and Bayern Munich football club signed an agreement to open a football academy in Ethiopia which mainly focuses on sharing and exchanging experience. According to a press conference held jointly, the EFF and Bayern Munich delegations have agreed on a three year partnership with the EFF. A Former prolific goal scorer, Brazilian Giovane Élber, who has spent most of his time in Germany representing Bayern, was given an ambassador’s role for opening the football academy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dawit Tolesa of The Reporter, attended the press conference given by Élber. Excerpts:
Question: As we all know most football clubs around the world have various players with specific age levels and there are clubs who are using the U-17 at club levels. What is the main reason of opening an academy focused on U-17 players?
Giovanni Élber: Well, of course many clubs across the country have their own academies in different levels of age. Sometimes several clubs include U-17 players to the main squad depending on their capability. However, it is obvious that every footballers start playing at the age of 6 or 7 in the village. For instance, in Brazil we play mostly in halls and gyms at the age of 5 to 14. It is impossible to bring U-10 to a football field. I believe that they have to start in the early ages on a mini-field. During my time, there were many fields to play on. Indeed, it is better to start on smaller fields because, it enables them to learn control, dribble, defend and score quickly. It is worthless to coach them on bigger fields at the age of U-14.
Can you tell us the ongoing agreement between Bayern Munich and the EFF and what will Ethiopia earn from the football club?
Regarding the ongoing U-17 football academy in Ethiopia, it is going to be a golden opportunity to develop a modern football. Bayern Munich FC has been working with China, Vietnam and Brazil. Now, they are becoming successful in making their football more developed. According to the agreement, the experience sharing will not only focus on the academy but also will take coaches to Bayern and share the general practice of the club. Furthermore, Bayern football legends and coaches will come to Ethiopia to share their experience. We are not saying that Ethiopian players should play like the Germans. They have to advance their playing style, with the help of Bayern football. Also there is a probability to bring the Club to Ethiopia to share their experience as well. Now, we cannot decide when the academy will be built. However, it will be decided based on the consent of Bayern and the Federal Sport Commission. If we start early, we will start soon.
Eight U-17 clubs have played to showcase their skills in Addis Ababa Stadium. What do you want to say about the players?
To be honest I did not see any difference between the Ethiopian, German and Brazil players. It is the same feeling for me. There is a little thing which needs to be solved. It is only about fundamental techniques. So, if we teach them the main technical things eventually they will be top players. The main thing is about experience. So, we have to use all the experience we can get. We don’t need to stop practicing even if you win the champions league. Always, we need to be more creative. As we hinted before, we are not only going to work on the U-17’s. We also need to keep this up on various ages.
Why did FC Bayern Munich choose Ethiopia?
Ethiopia and Germany have had a strong diplomatic tie for a long time and football has been one of the areas of cooperation. Actually, the request was made via Germany’s embassy in Ethiopia to Bayern Munich. So, we know that our help will play a pivotal role to develop Ethiopian football.