Meet the Team: Goalkeeper Coach Wael Zenga
January 22, 2019
This is part of our series where we reach out to Lansing Ignite players and coaches in an effort to get to know them before the season starts. Today we talk to Goalkeeper Coach Wael Zenga. He has an extensive background as a keeper in the Egyptian Premier League. Photo Credit: Aaron Cranford/Lansing Ignite FC.
Westen Shelton: Can you tell me a little about your career? What brought you to America after your career was done?
Wael Zenga: I used to play for Zamalek SC academy before joining the first team and played there for about eight years. During that time, we achieved many successes at the local and international level and earned many trophies. Then, I joined Al Aluminum FC for about six months before I played for Ghazl El Mahalla SC for almost three years. My contract with El Mahalla was about to end when my wife got an opportunity to join a U.S. postgraduate program, which was important in her career. That took place in 2011 – the same year that the revolution and political change in Egypt took place, so I decided to support my wife and join her by moving to the United States.
WS: What would you say was the greatest moment of your playing career?
WZ: The greatest moment that affected me was when I won the African champions league with Zamalek SC.
WS: What is the most important skill or trait that goalkeepers who play for you need to possess?
WZ: I think a goalkeeper position has to master all the skills, like crosses, positioning, breakaways, communication and foot skills.
WS: If your keeper has a rough game, and lets in some easy ones, what is your general approach for a postgame conversation?
WZ: First, we have to watch the whole game and analyze it. We watch the good saves and watch the mistakes, and then, we determine the timing of the mistakes, determine if these mistakes were mentally or technically. Then comes the conversation looking at how we can fix these mistakes and work on it.
WS: What has been the hardest thing about changing over from playing to coaching?
WZ: I think there are many hard things. Being the coach is a harder job than being the player – you have to make up plans for training and games, and you also have to treat the players mentally. For each player on his own, how you will treat the players during a win and how you will treat them during a loss, how to correct mistakes. All things must be done by the coach accurately.
Previous “Meet The Team” Interviews…