Are you Kanouté’s next great striker?

Frédéric Oumar Kanouté is looking for a future football star – all with the help of his KAFO Academy

He was the “laidback”, spiritual striker whose feet turned to gold once he reached Sevilla FC in Spain. Now, Frédéric Oumar Kanouté is turning his full attention to charity. He has set up a club in Dubai that aims to give 5 to 15-year-old children football training – and maybe, during the process, to find a future star.

“The aim of KAFO Academy is to give children an opportunity to learn a modern style of football delivered by highly qualified coaches,” says Kanouté. The academy consists of two 90-minute training sessions per week followed by matches at the weekend, which give the players the chance to put the weeks training into competitive practice.

KAFO Academy's 'player management' division will give the players the best possible chance of recognition

“Our internal 'player management' division will give the players the best possible chance of recognition as well as having unique personal development and after care services,” he says.

The first academy opened at Dubai Sports World (DWTC) on 15 June and will continue until 28 August. The aim of this academy was to give youngsters an indoors space to train through the hot summer months, but when this ends, the KAFO Academy will open its doors at Nord Anglia International School in Dubai at the start of the academic year, before expanding across the Emirates, and the wider Middle Eastern region.

As for whether he has spotted any future Ronaldo’s or Pelé’s, Kanouté says: “In the past few weeks we have held the inaugural Kanoute Cup Tournament and begun our summer academy. We have already identified a number of players with fantastic potential and will continue to monitor their progress. We encourage all players to take on board what they have been taught and practice as much as possible. Perfect practice makes perfect performance.”

He adds that the players who have a real passion for football are easy to spot, and that these players have a built-in advantage over those who don't. “They listen to the coaching points and use every minute on the training field trying to improve their technique and skills. These players train with such dedication and play with the desire to be noticed. At this age, winning is not everything but having the correct attitude in victory and defeat is very important.”

Perfect practice makes perfect performance

Frédéric Oumar Kanouté

Even for those who are, perhaps, not destined for a life on the field, Kanouté asserts that football can have a very positive impact on children, both on and off the pitch.

“The competitive nature which is installed into every team player helps with their drive to succeed in life. Children who are serious about their own personal development in football will generally live a disciplined, healthy/active lifestyle which has been proven to benefit their concentration levels, education as well as improving their fundamental motor skills.”