Germany’s Lutz Pfannenstiel has a unique record to his name. He is the only player to have played in all six Fifa confederations (UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, OFC). Having travelled and played football in different cultures and environments, the 39-year-old is now giving it back to the game. And how!
The German, now a coach, was at the Cooperage football ground here on Monday for the All India Football Federation-organised “Art of German Goalkeeping.” The Germans have a rich history of producing world-class goalkeepers so it came as no surprise that there were many takers for this initiative – majority of them being coaches and players from various I-League clubs.
Pfannenstiel began his first session with some exciting warm-up drills. He has set himself some interesting targets of updating the Indian coaches and the players of the modern aspects of goalkeeping. “Germany have always had some of the world-class goalkeepers at all levels. Hence, I would teach them the German art. Not only that, since I have travelled the world and played in different countries and clubs, I will teach them those techniques as well. So it will be a mix of all cultures - from Brazilian to American and English to German,” he said. “I would teach them the role of a modern goalkeeper. It not only involves the basics, but psychological and technical aspects. A goalkeeper has to be a good footballer and is a motivator of the side.”
Pfannenstiel, who has played for the German U-17 team, feels that India has a lot of potential to excel. “India is a sleeping giant which needs to wake up. They have a massive potential. Kids have good mobility and agility, I don’t know why you cannot do well at the world stage. I think India should set themselves long term targets. Only then will the country become a strong force,” said Pfannenstiel, who is also a foreign expert with German Football Association.
Former Air India coach Yusuf Ansari said: “The first day drills were new to some of them. Some even came and asked me if these things help. I think the programme has started off really well. He has promised to teach us some important aspects of goalkeeping. Since he has travelled all over the world, he has good knowledge too.”