Doha, 8 October 2019. Former Argentine and Parma striker Hernan Crespo believes today’s football player has his focus and attention highly demanded of by several non-football matters.“We need to help players get back the soul of football once again. The business around and accruing from playing football such as advertising, commercial marketing and social media following means that the player’s focus is no longer only on football and maybe we should go back to the principal goal of playing football”, said Crespo, who was until recently, manager of Argentine premier division team, Club Atletico Banfield and is well known for scoring goals for fun with Italian Serie A club Parma, his first club in Europe when he left River Plate in 1996. After that he had successful spells with clubs such as Lazio, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Chelsea.
The former Argentine international shared his coaching philosophy which he described as loosely based on providing players with choices and ability to make them on the pitch. “A player must build good decision-making abilities and feel confident to execute them keeping in mind the consequence from among others his team-mates, media, fans club president and his friends and family. Coaches don’t make a player, but it’s what the player has inside him, that coaches work with and refine, polish and help to become outstanding. The attitude to what you do is important as far as l am concerned. If you focus and give of your best, fully aware of your capabilities as an individual that is commendable.”
Crespo told a story from his days at Parma to illustrate his philosophy. “We had to run 10 rounds and Fabio Cannavaro was faster than Lilian Thuram and I. After 5 rounds he turned to me saying it’s 5-0 to me and he carried on saying the same to Thuram and when coach called for round 6 while he was still talking, I set off and beat him. I told him 1-0 and we went on to run the rest of the rounds and Cannavaro won the rest. At the end he said to me “Hey Crespo, the score is 9-1”, but l said to me its 1-0, so that one moment he wasn’t fully focused I made the most of it and won and that’s the picture I chose to take with me form the exercise,” said Crespo.
Crespo was speaking on Day 2 of the 5th edition of one of the biggest gatherings of football youth coaches and experts in the world. He went on to say a coach should not feel that he is more important than the players and ought to act normally around players and team. “You should see your role as that of helping players develop their skills and when you manage to get them to do that as a collection you begin to reap from that which you have given and planted into your coaching”.
Crespo extolled the self-discipline which he said helped him in his career. “There were times I was on the bench and my friends would ask me to come out at night with them, but I refused and instead would go home and rest as well as sleep early. It’s the determination and goals that you set yourself that will help you define your stance and modus operandi. In Argentina we have a saying that goes like, “Expertise is like a hair comb for you to look good”. Football has given me much and its time for me to give back as a coach and l was passionate about it as a young player and wanted to play at the top. I played in three World Cups and achieved many dreams. I am still passionate about this game and taking the same attitude into my coaching career,” concluded Hernan Crespo