thumbnail Hello,

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein spoke to Goal about how African players can succeed in European football

As the former vice-chairman of both the English Football Association and Arsenal, Dein's knowledge proved valuable at the latest Soccerex at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

Having signed a number of young African stars with manager Arsene Wenger for the Gunners, Goal spoke to Dein about the impact of African players in England.

“History has shown that European clubs have benefited tremendously from African players over the years. I think the challenge is how the players are managed and coached. South American players have also been beneficial in the world football stage,” he said.

Dein had a hand in bringing the likes of Kolo Toure, Nwankwo Kanu, Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires to Arsenal. He spoke about getting the best out of them and how South Africa can learn from these experiences.

“There was no secret in the success of these players, but it is just that we had proper training programs in place. We need to have proper coaches in place and I think the new Safa president Danny Jordaan will work on this."

With regard to John Barnes' warning about players being motivated for the right reasons, instead of just money  Dein underlines how his scouting team would select players with the right attitude for Arsenal.

“Another challenge is that players in this day and age are not trained to handle fame and their emotions when they are playing at this level. There are four crucial stages that we focus on when identifying the talented athlete.

“Some of these are the technique, physique, awareness and desire. If the players are developed well in these aspects, they can go on to be the greatest,” he said.

Follow Ignat Manjoo on Twitter
Follows us on Facebook