Pohlak: Estonian footballers not ambitious enough (1)
Although the draw with San Marino was a disgrace, Estonian teams's average result is satisfactory and Magnus Pehrsson has done a good job in the wider perspective, Aivar Pohlak, the President of the Estonia Football Association, told ERR's Vikerraadio.
Pohlak said that even if the results have not shown much improvement, the internal changes have been successful. The training processes and the way the team functions, have undergone considerable improvement.
The team has also seen a generation change, which is never easy, he added.
Commenting on the unfortunate draw with San Marino, Pohlak said that he has noticed several imbalances in the team. "There are too many players today who don't truly strive to play football; there are too many players without clubs," he said, "meaning that the players lack real ambition."
In addition to constructive ambition from the players, the Football Association expects the clubs to create more suitable conditions, whereby the players would not have to choose second or third tier clubs abroad over the local ones for financial reasons.
The younger players are encouraged to stay in Estonia for the optimum period, so that they can then move on to clubs more suitable for ambitious players.
Pohlak also pointed out that many of the non-native players, who have dominated some of the recent games, lack the emotional charge that comes with playing for the national team. "This is by no means an allegation, it's an analysis," he said, "and I would not put the blame on that factor."
"It's never a question of ethnicity. It's always about how someone has been brought up and how he has been assimilated to the local culture. These are predominantly players who have not grown up within the Estonian cultural space [...] The majority of these players have at some point in their lives decided that they want to be Estonian citizens. They have decided to be citizens, but they have not necessarily grown emotionally attached to the culture. These are intelligent and good guys, they have learned the language, but they lack this absolute something, this emotional added value to give, if and when they dominate the team." It just means that a balance needs to be achieved between native Estonian players and those of other ethnicities, he concluded.