5 Things African Football Teams Should Learn From The Germans

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The German team’s FIFA World Cup win has made
them the new darlings of the global game. The team
displayed exceptional team spirit, togetherness, and
technique. It is important that African football teams
glean lessons from the Germans’ journey to this
mesmerizing level and think how the same model
could be applied to help improve our own fortunes.
No African team has ever made it to the four biggest
and most recent football tournaments.

Long-term planning

German football was plunged into a period of serious
soul-searching after their team’s dismal performance
at Euro 2000. As the reigning champions, they crashed
out at the group stage with just one point and a
solitary goal.

The following year saw a blueprint for the compulsory
introduction of youth academies at all 36 professional
clubs across Germany. A ten-year anniversary study
revealed that more than half the players in the
Bundesliga had come through the academy system,
producing such talents as Thomas Müller, Bastian
Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Mario Götze and
Manuel Neuer. The players all chose to stay in their
homeland, rather than seek greater fortunes abroad.

A new generation of German footballers was born,
one that saw clubs like Bayern Munich, and Borussia
Dortmund surge to the forefront of European football,
as well as Germany’s continued success on the
international stage. Compare that to the fire brigade
approach of most African teams; they only begin
preparations on the eve of tournaments but expect
magic nevertheless. Each country should take a cue
from the Germans and invest more in vibrant football
academies in order to reap the benefits in a few short
years, as “Die Mannschaft” has done now.

Coach stability

54-year-old German coach Joachim Low, has occupied
his position since 2006. This means he had enough
time to bring about changes to the ongoing project
and mold the team to suit his philosophy. Low
admitted that the success he achieved wouldn’t have
been possible without the support and belief of the
FA . Compare that to African teams where some
coaches are given one-year contracts and expected to
perform magic. Projects take time and patience. It
took Germany ten years to reap their rewards and I
think African countries should learn from that.

Right mix of players

Over the past few years, the German squad has seen
changes. Players move in and out of the lineup as
Coach Joachim Löw figures out which players are
worthy of his team. For the most part, the core of the
German National team has remained the same.

Löw has consistently called up veteran players like
Miroslav Klose and Philipp Lahm, whilst young
German players were also being incorporated into the
side. Over the past year, fans have been introduced to
younger players like Marco Reus and Mario Götze.
Essentially, the team has the right mix of the old crop
of players and the future stars, which gives the team
experience, leadership, energy, and the desire needed
to succeed.

Nigeria’s Ramon Azeez was the only player from the
amazing under-17 team which conquered the World,
that was deemed fit for a call up by the Eagles coach,
Stephen Keshi. Three or four other players from the
under-17 team merit a call up, and the experience
they would have gained would have benefitted the
country in the long term. However, only Algeria and
Ghana had the right mix of young and old players in
their teams.

Confidence

It is not a coincidence that Germany always hits top
form at competitions. They played their seventh World
Cup final yesterday, making that their fourth World
Cup win. The Brazil game was their fourth straight
appearance in the World Cup semi-finals, and their
13th in the last 20 attempts. Such a feat does not
happen by chance.

Something in the ‘German psyche’ convinces the
players that they have the strength to succeed, as well
as an ideal temperament for tournament football.

‘We have an inner belief, not arrogance, that we are
better than anyone else, but a belief that together we
can be successful,” said Dirk Dufner, the sporting
director at Hannover. “What we saw against Brazil
makes it difficult not to believe that Germany can win
the World Cup,” he added
This illustrates that the mind continues to be man’s
greatest strength. You have to believe you can do it in
order to have a chance at all. In Brazil, Self-doubt was
evident in the performance of some of the African
teams. We shouldn’t lack faith in ourselves simply
because no one gave us a chance. We gave the big
football countries too much respect, and we paid for
it.

Patriotism

The blowup over bonuses that engulfed the Eagles,
Black Stars, and Indomitable Lions camps, says a lot
about our players poor patriotism levels. All the
successful teams in the history of FIFA World Cups
have been driven by the will to succeed, and love of
country; one thing the Germans have in abundance.

“There is a great desire to play for the national team,”
said Hannover’s sporting director. “Every German
dreams of pulling on the national shirt, and will give
everything when they do. It means the utmost to play
for your country.”

“We recognize it is important to be a team. Are we any
more passionate or patriotic than Brazil, or Argentina?

I don’t think so, but we know when we stand together
it works,” said Dufner.

The ability to wear your country’s colors should fill
every player’s heart with pride, and his eyes with
sweet tears. If that were the actual case, we likely
would not hear tales of ‘bonus rows’ again. An African
team would be on its way to being the next
“Germany,” in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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