Former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Lars Ricken is hopeful that the German club’s new collaboration with the Lion City Sailors will pave the way for up-and-coming young footballers from Singapore to find their way into Dortmund’s youth squads.
As part of a two-and-a-half-year partnership announced by the Bundesliga and Premier League giants Singapore at a virtual press conference on Saturday, the Bishan-based sailors will send their best young players to a camp. Annual two-week training with Dortmund (BVB), which could start next year.
Friendly matches will also be on the program. Those who impress will have another one-week stint with Dortmund’s Under-23s.
“We are not ruling out the possibility that local young players may find their way into the Borussia Dortmund youth system,” said Ricken, who is now director of the Youth Performance Center in Dortmund.
“We hope this will happen in our cooperation with the sailors and we hope to see (their) players in our environment.”
Ricken, 45, told The New Paper on the sidelines of the virtual conference that young Southeast Asian footballers have the right qualities, but to get even better they will need a level of training. higher.
“I have already visited a few academies in Southeast Asia, Thailand and Singapore,” said the former Germany international.
âI saw that Southeast Asian players are very focused and disciplined from an early age.
“The mentality is quite similar to that of Germany, and the next step would be to train at a higher level.”
Asked about a target date for the first training camp, Sailors general manager Chew Chun-Liang said, âWe will take a measured approach and start slowly.
“The health and safety of players and staff on both teams is important.”
He mentions the possibility of training camp taking place next year, if the situation permits.
The partnership will begin with education and coaching sessions conducted virtually, with academy players having access to the BVB learning platform.
This is not Dortmund’s first partnership with a local club. Their previous collaboration with Warriors FC ended prematurely, with the latter suspending operations a year after the deal began.
However, the stint enabled Dortmund to forge a relationship with Singapore, BVB Asia-Pacific chief executive Suresh Letchmanan said.
Referring to the new partnership, Suresh said: “The two clubs are dynamic and progressive brands with a commitment to developing talented young players and these common beliefs make the two organizations a perfect fit.”
The partnership also includes annual workshops run by BVB staff on topics such as talent identification, sports medicine and science, psychology, nutrition, data and match analysis, engagement of the fans and the match day experience.
This is another major move from the sailors, who topped the headlines with a series of eye-catching offers.
SPL’s first privatized club has spent money on a variety of fronts, such as a $ 10million training center slated to open next April and the record $ 2.9million transfer from Brazilian Diego Lopes in January. .
In May, the club signed national captain Hariss Harun, and followed that with the capture of Asian Champions League-winning tactician Kim Do-hoon as coach.
Chew has big ambitions for the future, aiming to make the club one of the best in the region.
“To get there, we have to learn from the best, and in BVB we have found a partner who is among the best in the world,” he said.
“We share similar ambitions with Dortmund, to become a hotbed for young talent.”