Panes: Made in Germany

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By Joel Panes

Optic Yellow

Monday, July 14, 2014


BLOOMBERG’S Businessweek published an article entitled “How Germany 14-year Plan Destroyed Brazil.” This was a revelation how the Bundesliga or the German Football League purposefully undertook a standardized national program to make one of its favorite games relevant. Actually, their goal was to make football, made in Germany, again a mark of quality.

For the record, Germany last won its FIFA World Cup in 1990, 14 years ago. Their previous world championships were earned in 1974 and 1954.

According to an assessment report published by the Bundesliga in 2010, much of its success was being attributed to the compulsory establishment of football academies. From the Bundesliga, the German national football league generous sums flowed. In 2010 alone, 90 million Euros was given to the national program in order to substantiate its vision of “football - made in Germany – a mark of quality.” In 10 years about 300 million Euros had financed the program.

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From where does the financial support come from?

I suppose these funds had come from the league’s revenue from sponsorships, promotions and ticket sales. In Philippine pesos, these 90 million Euros is equivalent to more than 5 billion. It is also three (3%) percent of our country’s 2010 GDP but is interestingly dwarfed by the staggering 10 billion peso PDAF corruption scandal hugging the national headlines.

What did the football program consist?

In every town, children as young as six years old are taught fundamental skills of the game. Coaches in these towns are required to obtain a license from the Deutscher Fussball Bund (DFB), the organization responsible for Germany’s national team. By the time the children turn eight years old, professional scouts are watching who among the kids are good enough to be part of a club program.

In addition to this, every professional club participating in the German Bundesliga funds and supports its own particular secondary school’s soccer team. In time, secondary players become division players. Players as well as coaches are entered in football academies to pass two levels of a program of certification. These academies have appointed guardians cooperate and communicate closely with each other and football leagues nationwide seeking to further improve the promotion of young talent. So far, it is reported that about fifty percent of the players in the Bundesliga are graduates of the nationally orchestrated football academies.

The German blue print for soccer football is unique, comprehensive and for us made poorer by the proclamations of leaders and experts that the new excellence is now mediocrity, we are envious. I am awed and as sportsmen, we should marvel. Though we are not football crazy as a nation, every sport, university or company in the archipelago should benefit by identifying with an organization which vigorously pursue their visions.

We should be really envious. Before us, an excellent sports infrastructure, made in Germany stands to confound an illusion of excellence proclaimed from these mountaintops. Our faces should turn pale at the sheer brightness of excellence’s glory present in every conceivable aspect. While the ultimate results of Germany’s program have yet to be further validated as their steely and skilled young players duel a Lionel Messi led-Argentina for the FIFA World Championship, I find that like the sedans of Daimler Benz and BMW, German football are at least ten years away and deeply advanced from their closest rivals.

Now that Baguio City’s Athletic Bowl will be renovated to the tune of 100 million megabucks, perhaps we can start dreaming that Baguio, Benguet and Cordillera sports can be collectively better. Perhaps, from here sports will be more than just instrument politicians utilize to improve their chances in the next election. Hopefully, from here inter-university athletic competitions will be more than just being an obligation to be fulfilled.

More importantly, I also pray that this upcoming renovated sports facility bestows upon the city’s underachieving batted balls program, a scandal-free baseball and softball field, a place it can proudly call its home.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 15, 2014.

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