Oliver Kahn ex­clu­sive

Soccer Laduma - - Front Page -

Oliver Kahn is re­garded as one of the great­est goal­keep­ers of all time. The Bay­ern Mu­nich leg­end lifted 26 tro­phies through­out his ca­reer, but missed out on the big­gest of them all af­ter mak­ing a costly mis­take in the 2002 FIFA World Cup fi­nal against Brazil. In this ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with Soc­cer Lad­uma’s David Kap­pel, the Ger­man opens up about los­ing to Brazil, lift­ing the UEFA Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle and his work af­ter re­tire­ment, which has seen him found his own com­pany GoalPlay and team up with award-win­ning South Africa-based so­cial en­ter­prise AMANDLA. The only goal­keeper to be awarded with the Golden Ball at a World Cup to date, he also ex­plains how the role of his pro­fes­sion has changed.

David Kap­pel: Hi Oliver, thank you very much for the in­ter­view, even if you were not able travel to South Africa. Can you tell us a bit more about your in­volve­ment with AMANDLA in Cape Town?

Oliver Kahn: We met six years ago with the Oliver Kahn Foun­da­tion and AMANDLA EduFoot­ball. We ini­tially worked to­gether for a pro­gramme, which I de­vel­oped for my own foun­da­tion, the so-called ‘You can do it’ (Du packst es) pro­gramme. Most of the work of my foun­da­tion is based on this ped­a­gog­i­cal con­cept, which is fo­cus­ing on ed­u­ca­tion of young peo­ple, learn­ing how to set tar­gets, how to deal with set­backs, and much more. AMANDLA EduFoot­ball liked this con­cept and were keen to start a sim­i­lar pro­gramme in their SafeHubs. The Oliver Kahn Foun­da­tion has been sup­port­ing young peo­ple for more than six years.

DK: You were sup­posed to come and visit AMANDLA in Cape Town for a so-called ‘Train N Fight Chal­lenge’. What can we un­der­stand un­der this pro­gramme?

OK: ‘Train N Fight’ was de­vel­oped by my com­pany called GoalPlay, which is fo­cus­ing on ev­ery­thing needed by a goal­keeper. We look at equip­ment, train­ing pro­grammes, etc. and all of it is dig­i­tal-ac­ces­si­ble. The idea is to take goal­keeper de­vel­op­ment into many dif­fer­ent coun­tries all over the world. And I thought it would be bril­liant if we could com­bine my com­mit­ment for the Safe-Hub with a ‘ Train N Fight Chal­lenge’ from GoalPlay. How does it work? Dur­ing the first day, we con­duct ba­sic prac­tices with the goal­keep­ers, we try to help them to get bet­ter, and dur­ing the sec­ond day, we have a com­pe­ti­tion – that is where the name ‘Train N Fight’ comes from. The can­di­dates will then com­pete against each other and, in the end, there will be one win­ner. We want that the play­ers im­ple­ment what they learned dur­ing the first day in the com­pe­ti­tion on the sec­ond day. We have con­ducted 10 of these camps in the big cities in Ger­many, and this time I wanted to of­fer it in Gugulethu in the Safe-Hub.

DK: How do you think the po­si­tion of the goal­keeper has changed over the years?

OK: The main tasks of the goal­keeper have al­ways re­mained the same. These are to make saves, save points and games for the team with out­stand­ing saves. But in ad­di­tion, the game of the goal­keeper has changed and that is why we named our busi­ness GoalPlay. The name refers to the goalplayer rather than just the goal­keeper. It means the goal­keeper is not just stand­ing in goal any­more, but he is also part of the game. These days, goal­keep­ers are the 11th out­field player. If we look at the best keep­ers in the cur­rent game, they are all great foot­ball play­ers; they could even play in out­field po­si­tions. They do not just help their teams with saves but can also be counted upon with their feet. They are now part of the build-up game. And that, for me, is the big­gest de­vel­op­ment – the goal­keeper has de­vel­oped into the goalplayer.

DK: If we look at which three goalplay­ers, as you call them, are cur­rently the best in the world, which names come to mind?

OK: In this mo­ment in time, Manuel Neuer has some prob­lems, based on his mas­sive in­jury from last year. Right now, he is not at the level ex­pected of him. Marc-An­dre ter Ste­gen is for me cur­rently among the best in the game. He is show­ing sen­sa­tional form at FC Barcelona. He has ma­tured a lot; he is now a lot bet­ter and more bal­anced than in pre­vi­ous years. He is one of the best goalies right now. Then we have Hugo Lloris from France, who is not play­ing as spec­tac­u­lar but is su­per re­li­able. Thibaut Cour­tois from Bel­gium is cur­rently suf­fer­ing a bit af­ter his move to Real Madrid, but I think Cour­tois, Lloris, Neuer and ter Ste­gen are the best. And an­other name, who I am I big fan of, is Kasper Sch­me­ichel.

DK: In South Africa, Africa, and ac­tu­ally ev­ery­where in the world, there are many young goalies who grow up without proper goal­keep­ing train­ing. What would you ad­vise an ado­les­cent goal­keeper who wants to reach the high­est level?

OK: I would ad­vise him to down­load the GoalPlay app (laughs). Of course, it’s only a joke, but we are de­vel­op­ing an app, which will launch in Jan­uary or Feb­ru­ary. You can down­load it all over the world and find train­ing con­cepts and pro­grammes to train ex­actly af­ter in line with our phi­los­o­phy. My ad­vice? A goal­keeper needs to train with fun and ex­cite­ment. And I be­lieve, to­day, you can train ev­ery­thing eas­ier, and if you fo­cus on the right ex­er­cises, then the de­vel­op­ment will hap­pen faster. Dur­ing my time, I lit­er­ally trained ev­ery­thing as long as it was fun and spec­tac­u­lar, but to­day we know ex­actly which train­ing will make you bet­ter at which de­vel­op­ment stage. It is im­por­tant to have coaches who are highly qual­i­fied and who know how to train with a goalplayer.

“My foun­da­tion is fo­cus­ing on ed­u­ca­tion of young peo­ple.”

DK: Let’s chat a bit about your own ca­reer. You your­self have won many cups and cham­pi­onships with Bay­ern Mu­nich. Which ti­tle do you par­tic­u­larly like to re­mem­ber?

OK: Of course, there are some ti­tles, I re­mem­ber more than oth­ers. I re­mem­ber us win­ning the Ger­man ti­tle in the 94th minute with the last shot of the game in 2001.

DK: Re­mem­ber, the hero of that day was Pa­trik An­der­s­son, who scored a free-kick!

OK: Yes, Patrick An­der­s­son, the man who had never be­fore scored a goal with his foot (laughs). But on this day, it was meant to be. Of course, I cher­ish the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal! We lost it in 1999 against Manch­ester United. If I would call it un­lucky, it would be (an) un­der­state­ment. But then two years later we beat Va­len­cia in the penalty shootout. I cel­e­brated many great ti­tles. I do not even want to say this one was bet­ter than the other. I had 14 great years at Bay­ern Mu­nich. It was a very emo­tional time. We won a lot, but also lost some im­por­tant games. But this is foot­ball.

DK: You al­ready men­tioned the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal vic­tory af­ter penal­ties against Va­len­cia. How emo­tional are you in such a penalty shootout and what goes through your mind when you save the fi­nal penalty from the other team?

OK: The best is that I did not even know we would win if I save this penalty. I did not re­alise that this was the de­cid­ing penalty. I was in such a zone of con­cen­tra­tion, only fo­cused to try and save any shot of the op­po­si­tion, that noth­ing else mat­tered. If you watch old footage of 2001, you can see that in the mo­ment when I save the penalty, I look up to the halfway line and all of a sud­den all my team­mates start run­ning, and then I thought wow, we have won it.

DK: Amaz­ing… But like you said, there were happy and sad times dur­ing your ca­reer. What are your mem­o­ries of the 2002 FIFA World Cup fi­nal, which you lost 2-0 with Ger­many against Brazil, and how do you deal with such a dis­ap­point­ment?

OK: Hmm, 2002 was very un­lucky. I think per­son­ally I had reached my ab­so­lute peak; I was at my top level. I think I can say I played seven games at the high­est level, but this one mis­take al­lowed Brazil to score to make it 1-0 in the fi­nal. How do you deal with it? I think it is un­der­stand­able that it takes quite a while. I think I needed about a year be­fore I fully moved on from it. But we all need to un­der­stand one thing in foot­ball: the goal­keeper is not alone! He is part of a team… he can also make mis­takes. But if he makes a mis­take, it is of­ten s**t. How­ever, there are also other play­ers on the pitch – they can make up for a mis­take. Foot­ball is a team sport, and at some point in my ca­reer I un­der­stood this bet­ter and it helps to deal with mis­takes.

DK: As you said, if you make a mis­take as a goal­keeper, it is of­ten a goal, while out­field play­ers of­ten have some­one be­hind them to make amends. How do you learn to deal with this ad­di­tional pres­sure, which is even greater at the high­est level?

OK: It is a process of learn­ing. I did not im­me­di­ately play in Cham­pi­ons League fi­nals. I started my ca­reer at a smaller club be­fore I en­tered the Bun­desliga af­ter play­ing for the ama­teurs. I had my first in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ences with Karl­sruhe and be­came a Bun­desliga reg­u­lar. So, step by step, I got used to the de­mands and ex­pec­ta­tions. I do not think I would have been able to play Cham­pi­ons League at the age of 18. It was a process of learn­ing, a process of adapt­ing and step by step. Then, with my trans­fer to Bay­ern Mu­nich, I moved to­wards the big­ger tasks, learn­ing from game to game. At some point, you have the feel­ing that you can per­form at the high­est level. And the pres­sure you men­tioned, you have to learn to turn it into en­ergy, per­for­mances and mo­ti­va­tion. This of­ten works, but not al­ways. It is what makes a good sports­man: it is the daily fight against one­self.

DK: You are now work­ing on many projects as well as be­ing a men­tor. Would you like to work as a coach one day?

OK: Nope. No, I al­ready re­alised back in 2008 when I re­tired that I do not want to work as a coach. I wanted to fol­low other paths. It has al­ways been in the back of my mind to move into the cor­po­rate world, to build my own com­pany – ide­ally of course in the world of sport, and that is ex­actly what I am do­ing to­day. In ad­di­tion, I am also keen that ev­ery­thing I do has a mean­ing. I am not only in­ter­ested in do­ing busi­ness, but also want to help oth­ers. That is why I love the con­nec­tion be­tween GoalPlay and AMANDLA, and I hope that we con­tinue with sim­i­lar projects in the fu­ture be­cause we all have a lot of fun work­ing with young peo­ple. The coaches are su­per mo­ti­vated, AMANDLA is su­per mo­ti­vated, and that is what is im­por­tant to me. These projects give us an in­cred­i­ble amount of en­ergy when you see how much fun it gives to young peo­ple.

DK: You have a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Could you imag­ine work­ing as a man­ager in the fu­ture?

OK: (Laughs) Please, not this ques­tion! I get asked this ques­tion 100 times ev­ery year and I can al­ways only give the same an­swer. At this mo­ment, I do not think so, be­cause right now I have too many other things go­ing, which make me happy. I do not see my­self in any man­age­ment po­si­tion in foot­ball.

DK: You your­self were the cap­tain of the Ger­man na­tional team for many years. What do you think were the main rea­sons that Ger­many got knocked out at the at the group stage for the first time at the 2018 World Cup?

OK: I think the team stag­nated a bit since they won the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The play­ers be­came a bit com­pla­cent. There was no drive any­more in the team. They did not work per­fectly as a unit. I had the feel­ing the World Cup win­ners did not func­tion well with the new play­ers that were added to the team. Ahead of the tour­na­ment in Rus­sia, there was also the con­tro­ver­sial pho­to­graph that Me­sut Ozil took with the pres­i­dent of Turkey. There were many dis­tur­bances, which led to the way Ger­many were knocked out. How­ever, what’s in­ter­est­ing is the fact that if you look at the statis­tics, the Ger­man team is al­most in ev­ery statis­tic in po­si­tion one or two – goalscor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, cor­ners, free­kicks. But they still got knocked out, which shows there was a bit of bad luck that also played a part.

DK: As a fi­nal ques­tion: Jay-Jay Okocha will come to South Africa next week with the Bun­desliga Leg­ends Tour and will also visit an AMANDLA pro­ject. Do you still re­mem­ber the goal he scored against you when you were still at Karl­sruhe?

OK: How could I for­get? It is one of the leg­endary Bun­desliga goals, of course. Many peo­ple al­ways think it was dif­fi­cult for me to get over it and that I would feel down be­cause he got one over us with his trick­ery. But, to be hon­est, I was sur­prised with my­self about how quick I could tackle, get up, tackle, get up… (laughs). Of course, ev­ery­one likes to re-watch the goal and it was a mas­sive high­light for JayJay Okocha but also for me, be­cause ev­ery­thing that is emo­tional is great and be­longs to foot­ball.

“The best is that I did not even know we would win if I save this penalty.” “I do not see my­self in any man­age­ment po­si­tion in foot­ball.”

Oliver Kahn af­ter con­ced­ing the first goal against Brazil in the 2002 FIFA World Cup fi­nal.

Oliver Kahn af­ter sav­ing the fi­nal penalty against Va­len­cia in the 2000/01 Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.