6 May 2019 – The mentality of African players ought to improve from an early age for the African continent to make an impact at the global stage of the beautiful game.
This was the view of head of coaching at Lech Poznan Academy Rafal Ulatowski in a candid interview on Sunday when some of the SA Under 20 players and officials visited the Academy on a fact finding mission in this tranquil town of Wronk, 50 kilometres from Poznan, Poland.
Ulatowski said based on his experience as a club coach and an ex-assistant coach of Polish national team, African players that he has coached and watched play are skillful, strong physically, pacey on the field of play but what seems to be lacking is the mental aspect/psyche of their game.
He said African players are comfortable and good when they constantly get good deliveries.
“The problems start when they don’t get constant deliveries from the midfielders and then their body demeanour and facial expressions change,” he added.
Ahead of the world FUFA U-20 World Cup to be held in Poland, Ulatowski reckons a comprehensive development based on schooling, education and playing football from a younger age could help deal with the mental aspect of players from the African continent.
He lauded African players as having all the attributes of being great except their mental psyche which often derailed them. He added that players in his academy in Poland must do well academically, adding that if they fail at school then the player is automatically out of the academy.
After three years as the coach of the Academy, he stressed the importance of good scouting and the recruiting of players as key to talent identification.
The Lech Academy had 80 players on their books ranging from under 15 to 18, and the second team from the senior club. All 80 players are studying and playing for the Academy.