What you need to know:
- Garcia, 45, who also played for Spanish giants Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, spoke on Saturday at Lenana School in Nairobi, where he conducted a football clinic attended by Diamond Football Club and Acakoro Football Academy.
- The event was courtesy of Standard Chartered Bank.
There is need for governments in Africa to promote football development in the continent by providing budding footballers with the best facilities to nurture their talents, former Liverpool star Luis Garcia has said.
Garcia, 45, who also played for Spanish giants Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, spoke on Saturday at Lenana School in Nairobi, where he conducted a football clinic attended by Diamond Football Club and Acakoro Football Academy.
The event was courtesy of Standard Chartered Bank.
The Spaniard is in the country to promote the 20th edition of the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon planned for October 29.
“The talent is there, we know that they (African players) are physically very strong, always quick players and have a lot of stamina,” said the former midfielder.
“They can make good professionals but lacking the best facilities from a young age may see them not achieve their dream, so of course I would like to encourage them (governments in Africa) to continue supporting the youths all around the country.”
More than 100 players between the age of six and 18 years benefitted from the clinic.
Garcia, who lifted the 2005 Uefa Champions League trophy and 2006 FA Cup with Liverpool, said the session with the budding footballers reminded him of his childhood days, when he only dreamt of becoming a professional footballer and the challenges he overcame to realise the dream.
Some of the tips he shared with the players included; how they should position themselves on the pitch and use their bodies to make quick decisions.
He encouraged the players to be disciplined, embrace team work and never give up on their dream to become professional footballers even if the going gets tough.
To perfectly drive the point home, the Spaniard cited the final of the 2005 Champions League where Liverpool was trailing AC Milan 3-0 at halftime but won the duel 3-2 on post-match penalties after battling to a 3-3 draw after extra time. “We never gave up, we were a united team that went out and fought for each other,” said Garcia who was part of Spain’s squad at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. “Always try to do your best when you are on the pitch.”
Commenting on the clinic, Peter Gitau, the Local Organising Committee Chairman Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon, said: “As a bank, we are keen on developing football talent within our country and beyond. By conducting the football clinic with the amateur teams, we are enabling them to showcase their passion and uplift their dreams to ensure they realize their true football potential.”
Diamond FC Director Sagar Lakhani said: “The soccer clinic will be able to assist the teens to realise their true football potential. By being guided by a renowned football star, they will be able to learn more about football and how they can be global football stars.”