Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1237, (12 - 18 March 2015 )
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1237, (12 - 18 March 2015 )

Ahram Weekly

Future footballers

Mohamed Abdel-Razek  visits one of the new football academies in Egypt

Al-Ahram Weekly

Building complete football players from the ground up is not an easy task. But Stars Soccer Academy, established in April 2013, decided to take up the challenge.

Most football academies in Egypt focus on enhancing the players’ technical abilities. However, Stars Soccer Academy went the other way around, believing there is a lot more to football than building a well-formed player. The academy’s founders all had the same common vision: help raise new generations free of anything that may harm them or their community by using sports, and more precisely football, as the magic wand.

“We make sure to help our players with everything we’ve got, helping them to succeed in their studies, here on the pitch, and at home as well,” said coach Mohamed Amer, the ex-Ahly player in the 1970s and former Ahly youth academy manager.

Amer, who puts a premium on his students hitting the books as much as taking the pitch, heads the Stars Academy along with assistants Ahmed Shahine and Mahmoud Mohamed.

Academies and clubs in Egypt are generally concerned with how to scout talent and shape them to become pros and then get their investment in return after selling them at the end of the process. “We believe that a good football player should respect his parents at home and do well in his studies as well as on the pitch. To us, all of these factors are one package we work on to hopefully succeed with our mission,” Shahine said.  

The academy accepts players from the ages of 4 to 14, with three training grounds in Al-Bashaer School in Maadi alongside two other schools in Nasr City and New Cairo. The academy’s board insisted on increasing their bases across Cairo to make sure they serve a wide range of youngsters everywhere.

A total of 150 players are registered in the academy, paying monthly fees of between LE300 to LE350. The academy may also grant financial aid for highly talented players, which seems reasonable, given the service the lads get from highly qualified coaches from well known clubs in Egypt, including Ahly and the Arab Contractors.

“We don’t accept coaches with certified grades less than a C,” Shahine said. “All our coaches are well trained with grades that range between C and A. That is how we apply professionalism.” The academy also helps refine its coaches by giving them intensive courses from time to time to make sure they maintain the required standards.

The academy is trying to increase registered players in the near future so that they can participate in several tournaments to get more practical experience. Right now the academy’s main activity is their participation in the Egyptian Academy tournament arranged by Ahly club. Such tournaments allow the academy to show off their talented players who are given an opportunity to join well established clubs in Egypt and abroad to play professionally.

Amer also said he always makes sure to bring in senior football stars to motivate the young talents at the academy, persuading them that it is possible to be a professional football player.

“We hope we can expand our project in the near future and establish a whole new club for ourselves to be able to participate regularly in the lower divisions of the Football Federation’s championships,” added Amer.

Sports academies have started to be the trend throughout the world, acting as the key to better societies. A sports academy in every neighbourhood would provide a suitable environment for generations to grow up in.

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