Lizarazu shares words of wisdom with local youth
Former Bayern left back plays his part in choosing 10 players to represent Singapore at the Bayern Youth Cup World Finals in Munich
When Bixente Lizarazu was 14, he was told by his youth coach: "You have to control the ball and not let the ball control you."
The former France left back, who went on to win the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship with Les Bleus, said that was the best piece of footballing advice he had received, when The New Paper asked him yesterday about the words of wisdom that had stayed in his mind.
He said: "While at Bordeaux, my trainers Ante Mladinic and Pierrot Labat didn't simply think about winning every Saturday. They thought about helping me improve as a player.
"Football is more technical now and you have to play together, with pleasure and fun, as well as good concentration and motivation."
At the second edition of the Bayern Youth Cup Singapore at Our Tampines Hub yesterday, he passed on that piece of advice to young local footballers.
It was special coming from the former France international, who also won the Bundesliga six times with Bayern Munich during two stints there (1997-2004 and 2005-2006).
The Bayern Youth Cup's eventual winners Queensway Secondary School demonstrated these values in abundance as they defeated Pasir Ris Secondary School 1-0 in the final.
ACS Barker finished third after pipping Bartley Secondary School in the third-place play-off by the same scoreline.
But the highlight of the event was when Lizarazu, 48, and coaches from the ActiveSG Football Academy handpicked 10 players to represent Singapore at the Bayern Youth Cup World Finals in Munich in May.
Said the academy's principal, Singapore legend Aleksandar Duric: "We are proud to be able to send our local youth to Germany to represent Singapore.
"They are keenly vying for selection for this once-in-a-lifetime experience in Germany."
They will join a five-day training camp with Bayern, meet first-team players, attend this season's final home match against VfB Stuttgart and play in the final tournament in the Allianz Arena the day after.
Pasir Ris goalkeeper Izz Raziq Irwan, 16, was ecstatic about being chosen for such a prestigious event.
He said: "I sometimes watch Bayern in the Champions League. So I'm quite speechless that I could get this chance."
Rohin Selvam Ramanchandra, a forward for ACS Barker, was also selected. The 16-year-old even impressed by winning a juggling challenge.
He said: "I was honoured to be given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and couldn't have done it without my team.
"It will be an experience, getting to meet people all over the world in this championship."