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BVB Evonik Football Academy

Review with Sven Kahlert

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This year, BVB Evonik Football Academy will be ten years old. That's why we have come up with something very special and would like to travel back in time with you and our coaches. We will report on exciting experiences that we will never forget. To do this, we spoke to Sven Kahlert, who is currently working for BVB in Egypt.

Sven, why don't you introduce yourself?

My name is Sven Kahlert, I am 50 years old and have held the UEFA Pro coaching Licence since 2008. I come from Wiesbaden, but currently live in Cairo, Egypt.

I started my coaching career at the end of the nineties as a player-coach. After obtaining my A-Licence in 2002, I worked as an U17 team coach at Kickers Offenbach, where my team twice won promotion to the Bundesliga.

In 2007-8, I successfully completed my football coach training course and shortly afterwards got the opportunity to coach the U16 team at FSV Mainz 05.

I started at FSV Mainz 05 together with Thomas Tuchel, who later coached the first team at BVB, and he took over as coach of the U19 team there.

From 2009 to August 2015, I coached various teams in the Women's Bundesliga. In addition to 1. FFC Frankfurt and Eintracht Frankfurt, I also coached MSV Duisburg and SC Sand.

I enjoyed my most successful time with 1. FFC Frankfurt. We won the DFB Cup in 2011, reached the final again in 2012 and were DFB Indoor Cup winners in 2012 as well.

My personal highlight was certainly reaching the 2012 Champions League final in the Olympic Stadium in Munich. We played the final against Olympique Lyon in front of 50,000 fans. Even though we didn’t manage to win the final, it remains a very memorable experience for me.

After my time in the women's Bundesliga, I got the opportunity to work as Youth Academy director at SV Wehen Wiesbaden. In October 2016, I went to China for a project in tandem with Bayer Leverkusen and the Chinese government, staying there until the end of 2017. In order to spend more time with my young son, I then took some time off.

Since September 2019, I have been working overseas for BVB Evonik Football Academy with a lot of joy, fun and commitment.                        

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How long have you been in Egypt and what exactly are you doing there?

I have been working in Cairo for our cooperation partner, ZED FC, since 12 July 2020. As a sporting advisor/coordinator, I am responsible for coach education and further training, for training sessions for practical demonstration on the pitch and, in the long term, for the introduction of Borussia Dortmund's training and playing philosophy.

Taking into account existing conditions, mentality and structures in Egyptian football, I also support the development of internal structures within the club.

Are you able to train at the moment or do you have to take a break like we did?

Since I started in Cairo, we have been able to train regularly. Due to the pandemic, the start of the season was delayed a little bit, so that we could only start playing in December.

However, as of 1 February 2021, the rule now applies that all our teams in the 2007 to 2012 age groups are no longer allowed to play any matches. However, these are still permitted for our performance teams in the 2001 to 2006 age groups.

What is the current situation?

Currently, all state and public schools are closed, but every student is still being taught online. Just like in Germany, you have to wear a mask in buildings or rooms and in shopping malls or supermarkets your temperature is measured at the entrance.

On the training ground and during training sessions, coaches can choose whether to wear a mask or not. Disinfectant is freely available and usable everywhere.

How quickly did you get used to the different way of life?

Since I have already worked in China, I managed to get used to the conditions relatively quickly. All the people are very helpful and incredibly hospitable. Of course, that makes life and work much easier.

The different approaches and problem-solving methods are not always the same as mine, but we usually manage to find the best way.

The fact that we communicate a lot with the coaches and people in charge naturally makes it easier for me to do my job successfully.

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How does Egyptian football differ from German football?

The quality of the players is very good even at a very young age. They are all so-called street footballers who can dribble.

The structures in the clubs and in the football association, on the other hand, can be built on. Here, an under 15 team has about only 25 to 30 games in a season (test matches, tournaments, friendlies, league matches, cup) and not 50 as in Germany.

The coaching team always consists of a head coach and two assistant coaches.

At the same time, the team squads are very large, which is also allowed by the association. The Egyptian coaches like to have 25 to 30 players in the squad.

This is also a point of my work. I want to teach them the advantages of a slightly smaller squad with higher quality. 

When do the kids train?

Normally, there are three to five training sessions per week, but this is adjusted depending on the age group. Then there are the games at the weekends.

Because the temperatures are very high in summer (40 degrees) and the daily routine in Egypt is somewhat different from that in Germany, training is often postponed until early evening.

How long will you stay there?

Currently, my contract here runs until 31 May 2021. I would like to continue this job in connection with the cooperation and sign a new contract.

What has been your best experience so far, in Dortmund or in Egypt, with BVB?

There are a few. For example, Champions League games in Dortmund in a packed stadium against Inter Milan and Barcelona, or a meal in Cairo with the fantastic view directly of the pyramids.

My personal highlight during my time at BVB was a trip to our partner in Sydney (Marconi Sydney). There we visited a zoo and had the unique opportunity to stroke a koala. You really don't get an opportunity like that very often.

What do you wish for this year?

Health, of course, first and foremost!

Also, that the Corona pandemic passes and we can ALL enjoy our normal lives again. Work, meeting friends, sitting in the park or café. Simply everything.

Also, of course, the continued cooperation here on site in Cairo with the Egyptian colleagues and of course with you in Dortmund.

I would be very happy to see you all again, to meet you and to be able to talk to you personally again.