grassroots development gets a new hero!

PFF Festival of Football Photo courtesy of Coach Oliver Colina

by Ed Travis @

I was very fortunate to be able to attend a press conference at the offices of the PFF yesterday. There, we had the opportunity to hear the PFF grassroots consultant, Mr. Eckhard Krautzun, speak about the results of his study and recommendations about ways to improve the development of football here. His insights were fantastic and very helpful, and should greatly benefit the development of football here in the Philippines. His discussion will be the subject of future posts. However, I thought it would be good to give everyone some information about this football legend from Germany, who has come here to help us.

Eckhard began playing football when he was five years old, kicking around cans and makeshift balls in a Germany ravaged by the effects of WW2. They had little equipment and less organization, so Eckhard must surely have been a gifted athlete to rise to become a member of several national youth teams of the D.F.B.  From ’63 to ’66 he was a member of the German Olympic team, while earning his diploma in football instruction at the German Sportscollege in Cologne. He then commenced a brief professional career playing at the top level of the German Bundesliga until a knee injury ended his playing career when still in his late ’20s. However, this was the time when Eckhard began coaching teams – and his influence quickly had an impact in all the teams he coached. Here are just a few highlights of his great accomplishments –

  • ’68-70 : First coaching job as National Team Coach for South Korea, Leading them to second in the Asian Youth Championships, and leading the senior team to a similar second place finish;
  • ’72-74 : Recommended by FIFA to become the National Team Coach in Kenya, becoming winners of the East Africa Challenge Cup and semifinalists in the Africa Cup;
  • ’79-82 : Head Coach for the NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers, playing against the New York Cosmos in the final championship;
  • Coached several teams in the Bundesliga over many years, including the capture of the German FA cup in 1997 with I.F.C. Kaiserslautern;
  • Performed grassroots evaluation and led courses for FIFA around the world in developing nations such as Morocco, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, and the Fiji Islands;
  • National Team Coach for the Philippines in 1991, where the team had fantastic results reaching the semifinals of the SEA Games against Thailand, having beaten regional powerhouses Viet Nam and Malaysia along the way;
  • ’04-08 : Adviser and Coach of various national teams in China including the Olympic team, Chinese Women’s World Cup Teams, and the U-20 youth teams.

We as a country are very fortunate to be able to host Eckhard here once again, and benefit from his deep global insight into making football a success in developing nations. Future blogs will share some of those insights and details of his recommendations for the Philippines.


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