by Natasha Raheel
KARACHI: Karachi United FC (KUFC) are hosting three coaches from German club 1 FC Union Berlin and the trio feels that Pakistan need to work a lot on the sport’s structure if they are to improve the level of football in the country.
Youth coach Sebastian Lejeune, Head of scouting and youth coach Oliver Rathenow and female coach Geddes Geb Toma, along with the founding director of Eurasia Institute Germany — the organisation responsible for organising the trip — Andrew Geddes, are part of the contingent who are in Karachi to train youngsters.
All three coaches were extremely pleased with the level of professionalism on show at KUFC, with Sebastian singling out the club’s vision and structure for praise.
“Before coming here, I had no idea what Pakistani football was like,” Sebastian told The Express Tribune. “I’m really surprised with what I have seen here and am really impressed by KUFC; they have a good team and have a great vision and solid structure.”
While the coaches were impressed by what they saw at KUFC, they said that one club alone cannot bring about a change at a national level. “The structure at KUFC is the same as at a good youth club in Berlin but the problem is that it is the only one,” said Oliver, while Toma added that it is imperative to have more girls taking up football as a sport.
They also talked about how a lack of competition is hampering the level of football in the country. “I’ve coached in South East Asia and the US and what I have seen from my experience is that it is not a lack of talent, but a lack of structure which doesn’t let the sport grow. When we are talking about the long term, then we need a structure to allow players to develop and it’s only then that you can have a strong competition which enhances the game. Right now there is just one club [KUFC] which is doing a good job; you need more to make an impact,” said Sebastian.
Sebastian, meanwhile, told aspiring footballers in Pakistan to improve on their technical skills.
However, he advised them to be patient as technical skills, just like any other skills, don’t just develop overnight; you have to work on them.
“My tip would be that aspiring players should be patient as technical skills need time to improve,” said Sebastian.