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Opinion

Bruce Djite: "The immediate future of Australian football is precarious"

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Roar Guru
20th May, 2020
16

Bruce Djite is the director of football at Adelaide United.

Bruce Djite has a good football brain and is a quality person.

He has made some impressive signings already, particularly Riley McGree.

This interview with Bruce Djite was extremely intriguing and eye-opening as he will transcend the game. Find out why.

What motivates you?
My main motivation is myself and my family, especially my children. I want to be the best role model for the kids and teach them, through my actions, that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to, if they go about achieving their goals in the right way. Although I am retired, I will always possess the traits that helped me become a professional footballer. I have a will to win, to continually learn, I am always looking at ways to improve, work hard, enjoy being part of a team, embrace challenges and responsibility. I still have a burning ambition to be the best I can possibly be.

What do you look for when you recruit a player?
I look first and foremost at their character traits. How are they when things are going poorly? What are they like in the change room when the pressure is on? What is their personality on and off the field? How strong is their mentality? Football is a small world and it is not too difficult to get a good understanding from a range of people about how an individual generally conducts them self. For me, club culture is the most significant competitive advantage a club in a salary-capped league can possess. Aside from that it is also important that the player possess technical, physical and tactical qualities that fit with the style of play we wish to implement.

What is your most memorable moment in football?
Winning the double with Adelaide United in 2016 and playing for the Socceroos.

Bruce Djite Adelaide United

(AAP Image/Ben Macmahon)

What interests you outside of football?
My key interests and passions outside of football are financial markets, investing, politics and international relations. No doubt all of which will be of increasing interest to me with everything that is going on with COVID-19.

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What would you do if you didn’t work in football and why?
I am not 100 per cent sure what I would do if I didn’t work in football. What I do know is that I would work in one of the aforementioned passions of mine. Therefore, I would either work in the world of finance (banking) or in the world of politics. I love dynamic and fast-paced working environments. These attributes are what make working in football so riveting and I believe the world of finance and politics are similar in the sense that no two days are the same. The highly scrutinised, fast-moving nature of those fields are appealing. I appreciate the great deal of responsibility and important decisions that are constantly made in those spheres and I would enjoy operating in such an environment.

What are your ambitions as a director of football?
My ultimate ambition for the club as Adelaide United’s director of football is to see Adelaide United win another grand final here in Adelaide. Having experienced it as a player myself, I want to see the next generation of Adelaide United players experience this same joy. I believe there is much work to do if we are to lay the foundations for that dream to become a reality. I would love to see the club invest and establish our own youth academy.

What made you want to become a director of football?
My love and passion for the game and investing. I believe as a football director I have the possibility to play a part in building something over a period of time. As a club, we have decided to invest in youth or younger players. We believe in them, we will give them the opportunity to play first-team football and if they are good enough, we will look to sell them in the future. There is also the opportunity to actually build a decent program for our female footballers. At this point in time, for that to come to fruition there needs to be a lot more collaboration from football stakeholders and much more investment from commercial partners, government, the club and most of all the general public. People are quick to jump on the women’s football wagon, but there is nowhere near enough people turning up to watch games in person or on TV and without that broader support, it is extremely difficult to create something better for the females.

Adelaide United fans wave flags

(AAP Image/James Elsby)

What is your view on the future of Australian football?
I believe the immediate future of Australian football is precarious, as is the immediate future of many sports around the world at present. However, COVID-19 has presented Australian football with a unique opportunity to assess and make the necessary improvements to the current models, both in the professional game and at grassroots level. The medium and long-term future (especially if the game is well restructured) is bright. Everyone knows what we need to improve (cost of participation, development, pathways, football pyramid) and people are always willing and able to discuss what the issues are. However, now the debate needs to be focused on the many well thought out and expertly crafted solutions that will help repair the issues the game suffers.

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What does football mean to you?
Football means a lot to me. It has provided me with so much, it is difficult to put it into words. Football is much greater than a game that lasts 90 minutes, where people kick a piece of leather around the field, trying to score a goal. Football is a powerful force and possesses global power. It is not by chance that FIFA is the sporting body that overwhelmingly has the greatest diplomatic and political influence on the world. Football, like many sports, levels the playing field and creates an environment where everyone belongs. Football is a conduit to better educational, health and social outcomes all over the world, it is a powerful tool and more than just a game.