FORMER African Player of the Year Frederic Kanoute has called for the continent to invest in youth football. The ex-Mali attacker was speaking to BBC Sport in a wide interview while in Zambia where he is now working on developing a new generation of talent trough his 12 Management Consultancy firm. The 42 year old also spoke about the expanded Afcon tournament and Mali’s chances at Egypt 2019.
“I believe in a strong youth system, we need to give them all the opportunities so that they can have success,” he says. “Development will not just happen but needs to be within a structured way.
It won’t just come without investing in the youth.” Kanoute is arguably one of the most successful African footballers and featured for Spurs, Lyon and Sevilla among others. He says that being talented isn’t enough but working hard and discipline are very crucial. “Keep working, talent is not enough. You need to work hard – have an ethic of working hard and discipline,” he said.
“You have to be very strong mentally as well. We shouldn’t forget, football is not only about playing around with a ball. There is a technical aspect. There is a tactical aspect. There is a physical aspect. There is a mental aspect. Speaking on the Mali chances at Afcon 2019, Kanoute said the Eagles will battle with Angola, Tunisia and Afcon debutants Mauritania for a place in the last 16 and Kanoute believes they will do well.
I hope at least they are going to go through the group stage without wasting too much energy on the road. I think it is an exciting team that has been renewed, a little bit younger. Speaking on the expanded Afcon tournament he said; “On one hand it is good for other nations to take part and to have a chance to show their skills to other Africans and the world.
So more participants is more positive,” he says. “On the other hand, the level of the competition could drop a little bit…I do not know we have to see how it goes.”