A good time to be German right? Ich bin so stolz auf unsere jungen Burschen. Zurück auf die FIFA-Rangliste. Tut mir leid für die anderen Nationen. I hope my Google translate hasn’t failed me there like it has on numerous occasions. But what a fortnight this has been for the German lads and country as a whole. UEFA Under 21 champs and Confederations Cup winners, in a span of two days. When did your country last win something? Personally I wouldn’t answer that question.
This is not a day’s work though. You have to love and envy how European countries groom their players from a very young age. Spain, France, Italy & Germany being good examples. The leagues in these countries have provided a great platform for kids to break out as stars years later. Lets not forget the English Premier League as well despite their hyped players not doing any good for their country. And before any of you English fans counters this, take a moment and flashback about Iceland. Thanks.
When you look at Germany’s squad, it’s like looking at teeth in polyphyodonts. How they replace retired/injured players is so good you won’t realize the players are not in the squad. The Confederations Cup has set the pace right for these kids and for most of them they would no doubt have a place on the bench in the next major tournament. Some will be in the starting line up in the next major fixture. I might have the worst record when it comes to bets (debatable) but I can put my money on Julian Draxler and Joshua Kimmich in the next line up.
Draxler, at 23 has led his nation to glory in a tournament. But captaincy is not the case here as many would argue anyone in the squad would have done the same. His performances have been good on the pitch both for club and country. Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich on the other hand is one of the most versatile players and has delivered whenever deployed in midfield or defense. Many have called him the next Philipp Lahm but I would give him at least two seasons before I validate that statement. At only 22 years of age, he already has 103 club appearances, 50 of them in the top flight for Bayern. That should speak volumes considering the signings the German giants make and fail to make the starting XI.
The focus now shifts to the World Cup next year and I’m sure Joachim Low has plenty to think about due to the large array of talent at his disposal. “It will be very difficult to defend our title next summer, and we will have to work very hard,” he says. This should be a warning shot to all German players as winning the Confederations Cup and Under 21 tournaments is not a guarantee to make the cut for the line-up for next summer’s tournament. Performances in the next 12 months will be the determining factor; not what happened within the last two weeks.
Back home, I don’t know if I should be annoyed or not with the current situation. We were brought up in this “Education is everything” mentality and when you look at the numbers it has only helped a few. At 22, your parents are pestering you asking for transcripts and back when you were at 16, you were the best footballer in your region but hey, “Study first. You’ll find time to play after you’ve passed your exams.” LOL. How I wish Kingsley Coman was Kenyan. You can’t be boasting of 5 consecutive league titles and you’re just 21. It’s depressing. You’re killing us.
Other things we lack back here are the right facilities and qualified coaches. Some parents would justify their “Education is everything” motto using this and I wouldn’t blame them. We have less than 10 stadiums fit to hold even a regional tournament. How many local stadiums would even attain a UEFA Category 1 stadium status? What about the gyms? Some local players have never been to a proper gym and it’s not because they don’t want to. They don’t have access to proper facilities and those who have have to pay membership fees. With the meager wages most of these players earn, they are forced to use dumbbells with blocks of concrete on either side of a steel rod to maintain their fitness which is very dangerous and embarrassing.
This status should change for us to have any hopes of challenging for anything. Proper gyms, coaches, adequate funds, stadiums etc need to be available. But with the deep-rooted corruption and politics in sports bodies in this country, it’s a long shot. I hope the situation will change soon.