Germany legend Monika Staab talks up football mission in Gambia

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The former Germany international who guided Frankfurt to Uefa Women's Champions League glory is glad with her new responsibility in Africa

Former Frankfurt manager Monica Staab is excited by the opportunity of helping girls develop football skills across the world and particularly in the Gambia.

Before managerial stints with Bahrain and Qatar national teams, Staab guided German Bundesliga giants Frankfurt to nine domestic titles and one Uefa Women's Champions League title between 1999 and 2004.

The 60-year-old tactician is currently in the Gambia, where she runs the German Gambia Football Project with the responsibility of developing the women's game in the country.

“There's a lot happening in women's football, but Africa's asleep. I see massive potential in Africa,” Staab told Fifa.com.

"My heart bleeds when I watch the girls play football. All that's missing are the resources to support them. The Foreign Office is financing this project in Gambia. That's not something you can take for granted, and the DOSB run things alongside us.

“The president of the Gambian Football Federation, Lamin Kaba Bajo, was a major factor in my decision to accept this undertaking. He's fully committed to women's football. They only have one or two hours of PE but we want to make the most of them.

“We can only train 25 girls per session and we have to provide the equipment and things. We have the expertise and the schools have the girls. The signing of the MoU was a historic moment. It means that there's now collaboration.

"The Minister for Education, Claudiana A. Cole, supported it and was a great advocate for it. I've now held five coaching courses for teachers, as the biggest problem is education. They're all enthusiastic about football but don't know how to conduct a training session.

“They don't know anything about tactics or training methods. That's certainly one of the reasons why the Foreign Office financed this project. I've had the first and second division coaches here and did video analysis with them. They'd never heard of it."

Staab has overseen various football developmental programmes in the Gambia since arriving in December 2018.

She further explained the priorities of her mission in the West African nation.  

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"We have so many girls between the ages of nine and 13 who don't go to school. I find that absurd. It's absolutely vital," she continued. 

"It's the main reason I'm here: to support women, to give them self-confidence and to teach the girls discipline.

“We want to try and give the girls, in particular, a fresh perspective. Football can help this country to develop. Football unites, gives strength and hope. I can provide some sparks but ultimately they need to light the fire themselves."

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