Tuesday, December 09, 2014

SOCCER: EXCLUSIVE - A Good €uropean - ESTONIA Women's Coach KEITH BOANAS Interview - Part One

The ESTONIA Women boss and former Charlton Athletic LFC manager talked exclusively with THE FOOTBALL REPORT about his achievements in the English FA Women's League, the ENGLAND Women's job and about the next FIFA Women's World Cup dangers. (Part One) 

 

Estonia Women Manager Keith Boanas with FA's Sir Trevor Brooking  /Pict.: Estonia WFA

 by Richard IV

at St Georges' Park

BURTON-Upon-TRENT. ''I am over here'' Keith Boanas beckoned me over with an endearing smile from his lobby's armchair as I glanced around for him in the entrance hall of the Hilton hotel yesterday at St. Georges’ Park - the English FA's dream coaching facilities situated in the leafy and breathtaking Burton-upon-Trent woodlands just inside the National Forest - on the occasion of the annual Football Association 2014 Licensed Coaches Club Conference.

WALKING THE WALK

The Englishman like many other countrymen and good Europeans, has set his career on the same path as Three Lions' manager Roy Hodgson by piling up international experience on the Continent, at the moment in the cold Baltic shores of Estonia with the opposite genders sports side - in the now globally booming game of women's football.

HOMELAND RECALL

Likewise Hodgson, who in the past coached Switzerland, Finland and Inter Milan FC before coming home, Boanas has been transparent in coveting the desire to return home as there was an opening for the England job. He was short listed in the search for Hope Powell's successor however the Three Lionesses job went quite surprisingly to young Welshman Mark Sampson, 31, who headed the Swansea FC Centre of Excellence during Roberto Martinez time and who then went on to manage the rise of the Bristol Academy ladies to two FA's Women FA Cup finals and concluded his term as runners-up to Liverpool Ladies in last year's FA's Women Super League championship.


ON THE ENGLAND JOB

''Sir Trevor Brooking, (pictured above recently with Keith Boanas) the former FA's technical director who retired recently and in charge of the decision one year ago, felt to send me a letter of apology'' said the Estonia FA Women's boss who seemed aggrieved by the decision and that his managerial track record was overlooked.


IN COACHING & MANAGEMENT

The management career of Keith Boanas started in men's football with Non-League Ryman League Tooting & Mitcham United FC before stepping into women's football when offered the Charlton Athletic FC Girls & Women's program role. 


THE SILVERWARE

The Boanas' masterpiece has been to accomplish the Herculean feat of almost single-handed, with a largely amateurial structure, to take the Charlton Athletic FC Ladies firstly to a double FA Women's League Cup triumph; then to a FA Women's Community Shield success alongside three seasons title's runners up in the FA Women's Premier League final standings plus reaching four times the pinnacle of the FA Women's Cup final and conquering the iconic 'holy grail' at the third attempt in 2005 but alas a beaten finalist in 2007.


TAKING CHARLTON ATHLETIC LFC TO THE TOP

The Londoner's had in their ranks England players like goalkeeper Pauline Cope (now his wife) and captain and Olympic Team GB captain Casey Stoney, plus current Lioness Fara Williams (coached by Boanas as a youngster and who joined from Chelsea LFC) and the striker Eniola Aluko, now in her full maturity, who can still do marvels for England.


GIANTS KILLING

Boanas took the club to a level never reached since, breaking up the overwhelming domination and stronghold in those years of women's football professional clubs like Arsenal Ladies FC and Fulham LFC which fielded striker legends like Marianne Spacey and Norwegian sensation Marianne Pettersen.


THE SURREY COUNTY FA

Keith Boanas, besides his international coaching duties also maintains a solid foothold in The Football Association's members structure as President and Technical Director of one of its richest Counties, the Surrey County FA Coaching Association, a job that makes the homeland's distance sweeter. He still feels honored and humbled to have the privilege of following the late great Sir Bobby Robson in this role.

'SEVEN SISTERS' CALL

The manager had however already fallen once for the White Cliffs sirens' chants by agreeing in January 2013 to manage the WSL outfit Lincoln Ladies FC but he changed his mind when the Estonia FA offered him a new contract.


MARKET RUMOURS

''My name turned up again this summer when the Arsenal Ladies job was up for the grab but after asking for my CV I heard nothing afterwards until I was told they went for a Spanish guy'' Boanas  reveals with a bit of disappointment - however he then adds to have been recently lined up by another WSL club, the Sunderland Ladies FC.


THE ENGLAND GAME

After the Three Lionesses disastrous debut at Wembley last month, trashed 3-0 by the European Champions and next summer's Canada World Cup favourites Germany, there were eyebrows raised over the new managements efficiency. ''Have England improved since Hope Powell's departure?'' I asked.


ON HOPE POWELL

''They have'' replied a convinced Boanas ''Hope (Powell) lately lacked players' management'. 'She had somehow only heart and passion for her players'' he said calmly ''She had her favourites and the changing room was split'' he continued ''That's the reason why players like Leanne Sanderson couldn't find space'' he said.


ON THE 2015 FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP PITCHES CONTROVERSY

I then asked him about last Saturday's 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Draw as he was recently quoted in the media to be against the controversial deployment of synthetic turf instead of natural grass pitches in  next summer's competition. ''Are you still against it?''


ON THE DANGERS OF ARTIFICIAL TURF

''I was partially misquoted on that'' he said ''We are normally using regularly 3/4G pitches in Estonia during the indoor winter training and also in the regular season but in the long range my experience has witnessed a consistent rise of knee, ankle and lower back injuries’. ’However Canada's cold winter lead to synthetic grass pitches deployment for indoor training sessions so presumably those pitches were required by the World Cup organisers as a precondition or mandatory clause to host the FIFA tournament'' said Boanas. 


HAVE CANADA AN UNFAIR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE?

Should that be an unfair advantage then for the Canadian team considering the overwhelming majority of the World Cup finalist teams have scarce confidence with the surface? ''Could that fact alter the normality and outcome of the next World Cup?'' I asked.

WILL ARTIFICIAL PITCHES ALTER THE WORLD CUP?

''It is unlikely so'' was the sharp answer from Boanas ''Canada have been strong challengers in the past (they still rue over a controversial defeat against 2011 World Cup host, Germany) and I am an admirer of their meticulous and very competent coach (John Herdman) who will already be analysing opponents' videos and carrying out a detailed study on them'' continued Boanas in emphasising how no stones will be left unturned by the Canadian team management as they have an historic chance to grab their first 'soccer' world crown.

(End of Part I)


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