Kahn: Germany needs bigger football presence in Asia

German Football
By German Football May 30, 2009 05:31

Kahn: Germany needs bigger football presence in Asia


Shanghai – German football needs a bigger presence than Friday’s friendly international in Shanghai to make an impact in China in particular and Asia in general, according to goalkeeping Legend Oliver Kahn. “In Germany they always speak about it as an interesting market. But if you really want to penetrate it it’s not good enough to play a match there, be it Bayern Munich or the national team,” Kahn said.

“It is not that easy.”

Clad in a typical Chinese suit, the “Titan” Kahn knows what he is talking about on the 32-floor terrace of the Hyatt hotel in Shanghai.

Kahn has been immensely famous in Asia ever since his heroics in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, where he conceded just one goal in Germany’s surprise run to the final which they lost 2-0 to Brazil.

He has made several trips to Asia since then and is currently in China for several weeks until mid-June to tape a 10-part television show with young goalkeeper candidates.

“This is very important to me,” he says.

“I started with 10 candidates, now four are left. The experience is great, the boys want to know so much, they soak everything in and want to improve.”

Kahn, a father of two himself, said he felt especially drawn to a boy from Tibet: “His father told him: ‘son, you must become a goalkeeper, as a goalkeeper you learn a lot about life.'”

That suits Kahn, who was one of the most dedicated players in his professional career and names “courage and responsibility” key phrases as he works with the young Chinese keepers.

The TV show will air from mid-June onwards and millions of Chinese are expected to tune in.

That is not the situation with Bundesliga broadcasts. The ruling German body DFB in Shanghai renewed its deal with national broadcasters CCTV for three years, but the Bundesliga market share in China is not more than 0.2 or 0.3 per cent.

Kahn mentioned kickoff times as one problem, with Bundesliga games starting late in China. The English Premier League, by contrast, has at least one match each weekend starting early in England for prime time viewing in Asia.

“You must create a permanent presence, be visible permanently, and not at 12 or 1 at night when most people are asleep. You must have decent kickoff times for the Chinese,” he said.

Kahn also named the American National Basketball Association as another example, even though that also generates big interest in China because the best Chinese player, Yao Ming, plays in the NBA.

“You must invest and create a constant presence. This process can not be achieved with one friendly match per year,” Kahn said.

That even more as coach Joachim Loew had only a handful of established players available for Friday’s game as captain Michael Ballack led a long list of absentees owing to club duty or injury.

The presence of Kahn has helped the depleted team and the DFB to get some attention in their first visit to China, but Kahn said that he can’t be the saviour for German football in Asia.

“I can generate attention, but only temporarily,” said Kahn.

[Deutsche Presse-Agentur via Earth Times]

German Football
By German Football May 30, 2009 05:31
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