Immersed in the world of coaching, player-coach Peter Khalife has been taking strides towards improving his younger brother’s footballing skills while studying Lebanese youth teams itself. Peter, Swedish-Lebanese and born in Cyprus, has seen a large difference in youth systems and development squads from Sweden compared to Lebanon, signifying that with no emphasis on youth; Lebanon will not be going places. Peter gives us an insight on his life, what made him coach and how foreign and local coaches adapt to managing a Lebanese team mid-season. He currently plays for Racing, stuck in the relegation zone of the Alfa Lebanese Premier League.
Actually, I didn’t have any intentions on becoming a coach as it just came to me after googling some training techniques to apply on my brother at home, and after that I took it more seriously and began to observe all the academies in Lebanon and I discovered a huge gap in development. Since then I have been working hard to learn development technique’s for Lebanese Academies.
To be honest, I find more joy in coaching the youth more as you can see how the child improves over time – but I would still like to manage a big team in Europe one day.
I visit Lebanon every summer, so one time my friend David (from England, originally Lebanese) contacted me and asked me if I was interested in signing for a Lebanese team and that’s what happened.
Yes, of course. I’ve been developing myself recently, leading to lots of people talking about me in a positive way.
First of all, you need the parents’ support. Not all childrens’ parents accept the fact that their children want to become professional football players, instead they keep focusing on studying. I’m not against studying, but it’s nice to have a balance between sports and education. In addition to this, youth development must start at the age of 5. Here in Lebanon we have many academies caring mostly for financial reasons more than caring for youth development. They’ve made it their business investment. So in conclusion; football development should be applied at an early stage and applied properly. Parents should support more while academies should look at developing rather that increasing income.
We have many talented players but too bad there was no development during their youth. This leads to Lebanese teams playing with your basic systems, nothing advanced. All of the teams are almost equally matched. Winning two games can get you into the top 4, but lost the next to and you’re hovering above the relegation zone. The players who work 2 jobs, of course it’s bad. They finish work, drained energy and train with unbalancing their body structures rather than enhancing it. This is why many players get injured easily as the workload is too tough on them.
I respect all 3 coaches. Libor Pala used to prefer long balls and counter attacks, while Josef Petrik was brought into the middle of the season and that was not a good idea for us and the coach as in my opinion a foreign manager cannot implement his philosophy so easily in such short notice without knowledge of the country or language – especially as his philosophy concerned passing and total football. Moussa Hojeij is back in coaching now, and he wants a fighting and hard working spirit in the team but I believe his knowledge of the league above all will help us.
I like fitness and pressing since my best aspects in football are my stamina and strength. That would couple up with the attacking football to balance the team, using that energy to an advantage.
I think Giuseppe is doing fine. It’s difficult for him since the level of our players is nothing compared to the players in Europe – but with a good system we can get some good results. Theo Bucker knew the players because he managed in the league before, so it was a bit easier for him but both are great men, with great philosophies.
It was a pleasure to cooperate with you Mr. Fayad and i wish you and the website successful years to come.
FOLLOW PETER ON INSTAGRAM: @peterkhalife