(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Belgian Pro League side, KAS Eupen, which is owned by Aspire Zone Foundation, has successfully concluded its fourth successive winter training camp at Aspire Academy on Monday. The training camp, which took place during the players' winter break from professional league matches, was organised to prepare the team for the second half of the 2017-2018 season, which resumes next Saturday, January 20.
On the last day of the training camp, Aspire Academy hosted a joint session between the Academy football coaches and KAS Eupen head coach Claude Makélélé, the former prolific Real Madrid and Chelsea midfielder, to discuss youth football development and training methodologies.
Speaking about the transition from player to coach, Makélélé said: 'When you become coach and have responsibility towards your players, you need to start seeing things from a different perspective and adopt a new set of skills beyond the ones you had as a player. What's also important is that you keep learning from your experiences and from the players you manage.
When dealing with the players, Makélélé advised: 'Be honest and clear with your players about how you arrive at the decisions you make about them. In training, when you notice a player making a mistake, pause the session and give them some feedback, and if possible, demonstrate the skill and ask other players to join. It's also important that you listen to the players' thoughts and concerns.
He added: 'Whilst it's important that you play together as a coherent team, each player has a unique set of skills and abilities and a good coach knows how to nurture and utilise them in the best way. It's the coach's job to teach his young players self-discipline and responsibility. That is why coaches should encourage players to put in extra hours in training to hone their skills and work on their weaknesses.
With a squad of 24 players, KAS Eupen features a number of Aspire Academy graduates including Abdollah Ali Saei and Ahmed Homam Elamin. Their fellow Qatari teammates at the club-Akram Afif, Abdulrasheed Ibrahim, Youssef Aymam Farahatand and Assim Madibo-are currently on international duty with Qatar's U-23 team at the U-23 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Championships in China. The young players have enjoyed a successful run at the championship so far, winning the first three matches against Uzbekistan, Oman and China.
Aspire Academy coaches used the opportunity to speak with Makélélé to check in on the progress of their former students. Makélélé shared: 'It's evident that Aspire Academy left its mark on all of these players and that is a testament to your [Aspire Academy's coaches] capabilities. I've been teaching Assim Madibo to observe how his teammates play so that he can start anticipating other players' movements on the field to help him make informed decisions during the game. Being able to do that will be key to any midfielder's success.
He continued: 'Abdulkarim Hassan is a strong defender, but he often takes on an attacking position rather than a defensive one. I'm currently working with him on how to maintain balance between the two. For example, I draw lines on the pitch and I restrict him from going beyond those lines, so he's not tempted to go out and start attacking up front. The ultimate goal is that he starts making better judgment on when best to use his attacking abilities, whilst remaining true to his main responsibility, which is to defend well.
He concluded: 'It's obvious that Akram Afif has talent. Right now, I'm helping him hone his attacking skills and how to play better as a team to score more goals.
Before they concluded their training camp, the Belgian squad held team building exercises in Aspire Academy's School Green Area and played a friendly match against Chinese Super League's Guangzhou Evergrande, who are also holding their mid-season training camp at the Academy. The match ended in a 2-0 win for the Belgian team.