Former Italy national coach Arrigo Sacchi arrived in Malta on Tuesday to conduct a seminar for UEFA A Licenced, Premier League and First Division coaches.
The former Milan and Italy coach is currently Youth Sector Co-Ordinator at the FIGC where he is assisted by Maurizio Vischidi who has also made the trip to Malta.
Sacchi and Vischidi will conduct a practical session on Wednesday before addressing the coaches in the afternoon.
Photos: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
Addressing the media on Tuesday, Arrigo Sacchi said that they were honoured to be here in Malta and work with the Malta Football Association which is closely associated with Italy, mainly due to the presence of national coach Pietro Ghedin and youths coach Roberto Soldano.
Sacchi explained his role at the Italian federation where he is in charge of the youth teams – from the Under-21 to the Under-15 – and works closely with Under-21 coach Devis Mangia, Under-20 coach Luigi di Biagio, Under-19 and Under-18 coach Alberigo Evani, Under-17 and Under-16 coach Daniele Zoratto and Under-15 coach Antonio Rocca.
He said that unfortunately Italians do not focus much on youths. Clubs invest little in youths and do not believe in them despite the fact that younger players are more receptive and are full of enthusiasm. The former Milan and Italy coach said that allowing a player like Marco Verratti leave Pescara to join Paris St Germain without any Italian club making a serious bid to sign him was a slap in the face.
Arrigo Sacchi said that clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona invest around €40 million annually on their youth sector but an Italian club would spend €15 million at most on youths. He said clubs fail to build a system from the youth teams which goes up to the senior sides, therefore creating barriers from one age group to another. However this is what the FIGC is trying to do at the national teams – continuity from one age group to another.
Sacchi went on to explain the importance of playing as a team and saying that to play good football, one has to study the game well and work hard. At Milan, he said he had talented players who could play ‘total football’. He said he wanted the players who were ready to adapt themselves to the game, connect well with their team mates – play with the team and for the team. Sacchi said he looked for serious professionals and intelligent players.
He said that former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola had told him that the team had really made a jump in quality once they changed the game from an individual sport to a team sport. Sacchi complained that in Italy there are hardly any clubs who work seriously and plan well ahead, allowing their coaches to work without particular pressure, and without excessive spending.