David Beshah is a former Walias and Ethiopia Bunna player. Born from Ethiopian father and German mother, David grew up in Cologne. He has plied his trade in Germany fourth division before switching to Ethiopian Premier League side Ethiopia Bunna in 2013. David hung up his boots after a brief spell with the Addis outfit due to knee injury. Since then David has joined the sport business as he commenced working as a football consultant and an agent.
David holds a Diploma in Sports Management, a field that he studied in Germany. David sat with Soccer Ethiopia to discuss pertinent issues regarding his business and football in general.
You were a professional footballer now you are engaged in sport business. How do you assess the transition?
The transition was very rapid. I didn’t plan it so soon. I planned though. I came here with the initiation to work after my career ended in the football business, although I didn’t plan to start after two years. But you know that is life. I played for Ethiopia Bunna for two years and I witnessed a lot in these two years. I offered to work with them (Bunna) too but let’s say we couldn’t agree. Then it is just turn out that I started my own football consulting company. When I started first it was not my initiation to be an agent. But now since players and also connections from abroad asked me about it I felt like it is a profitable business and it is also good for the football here.
What kind of service that your company offers?
I am working on a lot of different areas like sponsoring, marketing, consulting and players’ agency. I already started a data base for foreign based Ethiopian players since I know it by myself how hard it is to get in contact with the Federation. I want to be a contact point with EFF and the players.
I also partnered with a sportswear company from Australia (AMS Clothing). We are trying to supply kit for clubs and the national team. Till now we don’t have any close deals but we are in good talks with a lot of clubs.
You grew up in Europe where the footy there is very developed. In Ethiopia, it is adverse. What sort of role could your business play in growing the football here?
I mean as you said it is here at its grassroots. Of course when it comes to youth work and development it is like nearly everything to do. Which is also part where I see myself I can support. Make connection to Germany of course because I grew up there. It has to start there but in football if you start with youth development and disregard the local situation it won’t be favorable. We have to find a balance. I want my business to play a role in forging a relationship with players abroad. I would like to see foreign based players helping their country out.
Other African nations are benefiting from those players who were born abroad. Algeria could be the best possible example. In the case of Ethiopia after 2011 onward the interest to represent Ethiopia is growing. Nevertheless, there is still a loophole. Considering you came from Europe and acquainted with the trend, what is the root cause for the national team not being represented by Ethiopian born foreign based players?
I think first of all it is lack of communication between the Federation and the players. Simply there is no contact point. The Federation has one email address for everything and even if you send email there you can be sure that they won’t read it. But also I think lack of interest from the Federation. I know there is interest from abroad to play but not everybody who wants to play is able to play for our national team. If there is interest, you have to check them. We didn’t involve foreign based players and I am saying that without disrespecting the local players. We have local players who are good and talented. The foreign based players have the right to be considered at least. I am not saying every foreign based player is better.
You advocate Youth development in football. What is the best and right way to follow for football in Ethiopia to grow?
We don’t have to be in the same standard with that of Europeans in one year. It is just we need to start somewhere and development would come. That is also something that should come from the Federation. Years before they made it mandatory to have a women’ team. So, you see now everybody has a women’s team. If they made clubs to own a youth academy within the next 3 and 4 years, imagine what it would bring to the football here. Clubs should have more support as you can’t expect a club to do everything by its own.
I heard Kidus Giorgis opened an academy in Bishoftu, and this are small steps but if you really want to make it serious, change needs to come from the Federation. This is how it grew in Germany. In my recollection, in Euro 2000 the national team bows out of the tourney early. After that they changed the system and 12-14 years we have seen the result. 10 and 12 years in football is nothing, it is like tomorrow. If we start now, in four years’ time there would be a huge step.
You have already signed Gatoch Panom and Philip Dauzi to your agency. The transfer window is fast approaching so where would the two play next season?
For Philip for example I know his contract with Ethiopia Nigd Bank ends this season. For Philip we are in good talks abroad. I can’t disclose now where exactly. But there are few possibilities. Also last year he trained in Egyptian club (Petrojet) and he was about to sign there but it didn’t work out because of the transfer fee. Gatoch is the most promising player in the country. He is now in the national team roster. Recently, he is inherent part of the Walias. He is still young of age and from what I see he can make to abroad.
You quit playing when you were 27. I believe you could have played longer. Do you remorse your decision for hanging up your boot this early?
I stopped playing because of knee injury. I was virtually out for 10 months and it was one the hardest time of my life ever. Thank God I got a good treatment and could have continued playing. But it was the first time also when I though ‘Okay, there are certain things more important.’ You have to live few more years. When the injury happened on the same knee, it was pretty easy for me to quit. Of course when I am in the Stadium and especially when Bunna are playing I get this feeling to go out and play again. But I think I am more suited for my new role and I can help the football more in Ethiopia.