Written by: Ali Fahes
One question concerning every Lebanese football follower:
How did Marmar sweep the Lebanese and Asian championships, and what sets him apart from other local coaches?
Is it his financial ability, unlike the rest of the coaches? Or could it be an exclusive psychological factor that comes with leading a club full of star players?
Most Lebanese club coaches rely on one policy while preparing for a new season: attracting experienced players to bolster their squad, but at the expense of younger players. Coaches tend to bring in big names who have already proven themselves in the domestic league, despite them exceeding 30 years of age, and even if that means leaving out club academy graduates, who are in desperate need of playing time to improve.
This only shows a lack of team building vision in Lebanese clubs.
The financial difference between clubs plays an important role, but coaches also need to have a vision for the game. Money doesn’t necessarily mean championships.
Boldness: is what separates Marmar from the rest.
Marmar is daring enough to give an 18 year old player a chance to play in an AFC Cup match, something not yet found in other local clubs. Because of his choices, Marmar was able to build his team’s foundations with the club’s academy graduates. This is obvious when looking at Al Ahed’s lineup, with many squad members having emerged from the younger age groups.
The concept of team building and bringing in players according to a certain vision is still under works. We need coaches with assertive decisions in their teams, who are ready to trust in and play the youngsters. We need boldness with our decision makers.
Why is it important for clubs to rely on their academy graduates
Financially speaking, clubs can rely on their younger players to reduce their spending, instead of signing players with expensive contracts. They can also build a system of youngsters who have been through the different age groups together, a system based on chemistry and understanding, which will help immensely with the players’ morale. In short: building for the future. Young players can serve the club for long periods of time, or their clubs can make use of them financially by selling them to other domestic, or even international, clubs.
Marmar’s success is due to all of these factors, which are the basis of Al Ahed, making them build a strong foundation able to produce players and win championships.