Today Club Eagles won the Under 21 Youth Championship for the third consecutive time. Coach Ahmed Shakir(shakitte) is the main man behind the success. BoalhaMV met with Shakitte to share his thoughts.
BoalhaMV: Ahmed Shakir, You just won the Youth Championship for the third time, how do you feel?
Shakitte: This is the result of very hard work. Long journey. To me it feels like (I have) contributed to Club Eagles and future of Maldivian football in general.
BoalhaMV: The final match must have been very stressful for you?
Shakitte: No final match is easy, because final match is the last match, there is no match after that. The result of that match is the ultimate result. The pressure was on Eagles in today’s match. For us nothing but a win was acceptable. We started preparing for this tournament before anyone else. So to not win is a big problem. All the pressure was on us today.
BoalhaMV: The youth football community has not seen another coach like you. What makes you so successful?
Shakitte: There is no coach who gives more time to prepare for the youth tournament than me. I give a lot of my time for football, especially for youth football, There is no coach who sees more youth football games than I do, there is no coach who knows youth players like I do, there is no coach who asks and learns from the senior coaches like I do. I suppose this is the secret of my success.
BoalhaMV: Who do you think is your best player in this year’s tournament?
Shakitte: To select one player as the best player is very difficult. There are very good players at Eagles, Maziya, United Victory and Thinadhoo too. So it’s not easy to choose one player.
BoalhaMV: Who has been your best player in the last three years?
Shakitte: in the last three years I have coached a lot of very good players. So it’s not easy to choose the best player.
BoalhaMV: Under your guidance we have seen players like Rizvan, Ansar, Nooman, Samitte, Mukki, Bobby, and the list goes on and on. These players worked with you before going on to the Eagles senior team, some even to the National Team. How important is you under 21 team to the Eagles senior side?
Shakitte: In the last few years, a huge chunk of the players in Club Eagles are from the under 21 side. The under 21 team is the booster team for the senior team. The under 21 team is the main source of players for the senior side. We sign more players from our youth program compare to signings from other Clubs. So the youth team is a very important component of the Eagles set up.
BoalhaMV: This Victory comes at a time your mentor Coach Ihusaan Abdul Ghani (Saanthi) moved to the Association. Are you going to stay on as the first assistant coach?
Shakitte: I have had other offers. So I have not decided yet. But if I work at club football, Eagles will always be my first priority.
BoalhaMV: …and your work as the under 21 Head Coach?
Shakitte: It’s unlikely. Former Eagles head coach Saanthi didn’t just develop good youth players, he also developed good youth coaches. There are very good youth coaches at Eagles. They need an opportunity too.
BoalhaMV: You are one of the very few coaches (such as Coach Abujee, Coach Maatte) to have won three consecutive football tournaments. What do you think is your future like?
Shakitte: In future I want to go as far as possible in this profession. To be among the most successful coaches in the Maldives. It is also my dream to work in one of the great footballing nations and be successful in such a league.
BoalhaMV: Tell us your best 11 of Maldives football
Shakitte: Imran ( Keeper ) Ashfag, Sentey, Kuda Heena, Kuda Moosa, Huraa Ablhoa, Ali Umar, Thodoo Nizam, Assad, Niyaa ( Former Newradiant Defender ) and Kappi,
BoalhaMV: A lot of young footballers view www.boalha.mv. What advice would you give them?
Shakitte: If you want to be a footballer, the most important thing is discipline. Discipline towards teammates, coaching staff, management. Discipline in daily life, things like eating habits. Player without proper discipline cannot go far in his career. Such a player will not have a long career.
BoalhaMV: What was your favorite moment in your career?
Shakitte: To win the youth tournament the third time and also be awarded the best coach the third time.
BoalhaMV: would you like to add anything?
Shakitte: The people behind the success, the supporters of Eagles, The clubs board(of directors), Chairman Shiyam, Vice Chairmain Thoatte, General Secretary Mufa, the officials Moosa, Zarra, Asif, Solaa, Afu, Inaan, Nima, Manager Saeed, goalkeeper coach Aslam, my assistant Kaka, Senior team players, the youth team players. Thank you very much. And also I would like to thank the former Eagles head coach, my coaching mentor, my coaching idol Saanthi.
We at BoalhaMV would like to congratulate coach Shakitte. Wish you all the best. BoalhaMV, like you, focusses on youth players. We hope to bring a few coaching sessions of this remarkable young coach.