Beckenbauer gives Austrian football youth a hand

Austrian football bosses have won Franz Beckenbauer to front a new initiative aiming to boost talented players.Federal Football Federation (ÖFB) chief Leo Windtner proudly presented the German football icon as ambassador of the new “Projekt12” campaign yesterday (Thurs). ÖFB officials hope that the project will give young talent a kick start in Austrian football before succeeding in top leagues abroad and in the national team.Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as player (1974) and coach (1990), said: “Bayern Munich has had good experiences with young Austrians. This is proof that Austria has done well in supporting good young players.”The ex-Bayern star had less honouring words for Austria when he was asked to comment on the most recent performances of its senior national team. Referring to the squad’s 0-2 home defeat against Belgium last month, he said: “I’ve never seen a team who ran as much (as Austria in this match) without achieving anything.”The ÖFB explained 40 up-and-coming players will receive special attention under the “Projekt12” initiative. Beckenbauer said he appreciated the strategy. The 65-year-old said: “Squad training isn’t sufficient these days. Talented players can only achieve their breakthrough by getting individual attention.”The former world class defender named Bayern and Borussia Dortmund as good examples for clubs with functioning strategies considering the support of talented youngsters.Overall 460,000 Euros will be invested into “Projekt12” by the ÖFB.Beckenbauer has lived in a small town near the Tyrolean ski resort of Kitzbühel for years. German media recently revealed that the football figurehead – who is nicknamed “The Kaiser” – acquired another estate in Austria.  Newspapers reported that Beckenbauer bought a house in Obertauern, Salzburg, where he has often been skiing.