GSV and St Patrick's Athletic Football Club to train Pakistani footballers under 3-year deal
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St Patrick’s Athletic UEFA Pro licensed coaching staff will kick off the nationwide coaching and Kamyab Jawan Football talent hunt programme in Pakistan under the watchful eye of Michael Owen.
This exciting partnership between GSV and the Irish Premier Division club, St Patrick’s Athletic FC will help Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to nurture and develop football for the youth of Pakistan under the umbrella of Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive Program, managed by Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Usman Dar.
The road trip begins with a train-the-trainer master-class delivered by St Pat’s UEFA Pro license staff. The sessions are designed to up-skill and transfer football coaching knowledge to Pakistan’s coaching staff meeting international UEFA standards.
Initially, the team will explore talent in 10 cities of Pakistan including Islamabad-Muzaffarabad- Peshawar-Lahore-Multan-Sialkot-Faisalabad-Quetta-Sukkur and Karachi. This will conclude with up to 20 players being given the opportunity of travelling to Dublin, Ireland to train and play with the Academy and potentially First Team of St Patrick’s Athletic.
From 17th January to 5th February 2022, the opportunity to rise and shine in football will be available all over Pakistan. UEFA pro licensed coaching staff Karel Fraeye (Belgium) and Sandro Gianisella (Italy) and Dennis Ricardo Baino (Belgium) under the St Patrick’s Athletic banner, will arrive in Islamabad to kick off the national trials. The nation will witness the first-ever structured international football player development programme designed to create a regular feeder system into Europe through the UK & Ireland. The master plan provides a soft landing for Pakistani players into Europe where they will be nurtured, developed and climatised to meet European playing conditions.
St Patrick’s have been crowned League Champions 9 times and have competed in 58 UEFA Champions League and Europa League games. The Irish club has a well-renowned reputation for developing talented young football players, with many having hugely successful careers in European football. Irish football icon Paul McGrath transferred from ‘The Saints’ to Manchester United FC and went to have a hugely successful career there, as well as star in two World Cups for Ireland.
The Dublin club’s youth academy offers a springboard for players into top flight English Premier League clubs and beyond. Liverpool’s goalkeeping sensation Vitezslav Jaros (20) is a prime example on how St Pat’s have youth career development expertise, with Jurgen Klopp hailing the Czech Republic youth international after a brilliant loan spell at St Pat
Garrett Kelleher, Chairman of St Pat’s said: “The Prime Minister’s ambition to further develop football across the 5th most populous nation in the World is exciting. If St Patrick’s Athletic can in some way be a platform for this to happen and enable talented young footballers to achieve their dreams, it very much aligns with the club’s domestic aspiration. St Pat’s is privileged to have been retained by Pakistan to design a program with Red Strike and GSV in England to develop players further and potentially explore pro-contract opportunities.”
Brian Kerr, former Republic of Ireland and Faroe Islands senior international manager, and manager of Ireland’s U16 and U18 European champions in 1998 said: “When I first heard about this project through St Pat’s I was excited and eager to be involved. I have no doubt that there is a lot of untapped talent in Pakistan and we are hoping to find, nurture and develop that talent with a view to benefitting the players and ultimately the footballing nation of Pakistan.”
Michael Owen said: “It is a great privilege to be working with Pakistani talent and offering a professional talent ID programme in Pakistan for the very first time. This will be the first ever national talent hunt programme meeting UEFA player evaluation standards which offers a gateway into Europe. I look forward to seeing you in Ireland”.
Karel Fraeye, UEFA licensed coach said: “Pakistan is a tremendous nation with huge talent for football. We are excited to be working with Brian Kerr and Ger O’Brien of St Pat’s. It’s a matter of discovering raw talent and adapting them to new playing conditions and becoming physically stronger athletes to meet the demands of the modern game of football”.
Zabe Khan, CEO of GSV said: “As a former player in Pakistan all I wanted was a professional opportunity to play regular football and find a way to further my professional career in football. This is now a realistic ambition for Pakistan’s football where emerging talent will be developed in international facilities and play in a different terrain.”
Ger O’Brien, Director of St Pat’s Academy said: “We are delighted to be involved in this project with GSV. We at St Pat’s put a huge emphasis on ensuring that there is a proper player pathway for players to develop and we take get pride in giving young players the chance to develop. Providing the same opportunity for some of the brightest talent in Pakistan is something we are proud to participate in.”
Yasir Mehmood, Chairman of GSV said: “Our talent ID programme will provide the hope for talent and take them to the right destination to develop our youth in the home of football. I am excited by the relationship GSV has forged with St Patrick’s Athletic Football Club and is a stepping stone in unchartered territories in the world of football for Pakistan”.