After securing top division survival on joining Mohammedan SC half way through last season, the past title winning coach is now going into his 2nd season with a fresh new squad of players.
Name, age, where you are based?
Sean Lane, 55 years old, Dhaka Bangladesh.
I’m currently the Head Coach for Mohammedan Sporting Club in Dhaka, we play in the Bangladesh Premier League. I took on the role for the second half of the 2019 season and have agreed to stay on for another season.
Previously I was the Assistant Head Coach and the Senior Head Coach at Brisbane Strikers, Head Coach at Gold Coast United and Assistant Head Coach at Gold Coast Knights in the Queensland National Premier League in Australia.
I’m a partner in “Goals Football Academy” based in Queensland Australia
I’m currently in the process of applying to participate in this year’s AFC Pro License in Australia,
Having already successfully completed my AFC C Youth License, AFC C License, AFC B License and my AFC A License.
How did you get into coaching And what has your path been like?
I played as a professional and semi-professional in England and Australia until I was 40 years old and really had no intention or interest in coaching until my kids started playing. I saw some of the well-meaning parents trying their best to coach them… I thought I can stand on the sideline and throw stones or get involved…and here we are today.
I’d played for over 20 years and when I started coaching I couldn’t remember one session I’d done as a player…I had some great mentors in those early days in Pat Hedges from Football Queensland and Dave Large from Brisbane Strikers who not only gave me opportunities, but also spent time to help guide and mentor me.
My first role was as Youth Development coach with Football Gold Coast then I moved onto Brisbane Strikers which I loved, because you could see real improvement in short periods of time in the players technique and mentality….and it was good to see some of these players kick on and gain Pro and Semi Pro contracts and US Scholarships.
For the last 4 years I have been involved at the pointy end with senior teams which is another challenge onto itself.
Any major highlights or achievements so far?
In my roles at Brisbane Strikers we were Queensland NPL Champions in 2016 and 2017, including winning the Queensland NPL finals with Gold Coast Knights in 2019.
I was awarded Queensland Coach of the Year in 2017.
What is your training focus with your current teams/players or what are your main duties in your role?
I have almost a whole new group of players this season… over 20 new recruits from Bangladesh, Nigeria and Mali so getting to know them and what makes them tick is a key thing for me. Some of these players have had 3 months off and it looks like it….the Bangladeshi diet isn’t kind to elite athletes 😉
We are in pre-season at the moment so I’m working the players through a 6-week periodisation plan, which contains some key principles on how we want to play whilst also working off any post season blubber.
What’s the environment like for living and what are the main things that take some getting used to?
Bangladesh has a population of 297 million people with most of them live in Dhaka, and it feels like most of them live outside the front of my Hotel. The traffic is mental I don’t think I could even call it ‘organised’ chaos….the overriding road rule is whoever has the biggest vehicle has the right of way. That said, people here are fantastic, very humble and very welcoming.
How’s the footballing culture there and how is it being developed?
Cricket is the biggest sport with football in second place….Mohammedan Sporting Club is the oldest club in Bangladesh and have a huge following all over the country. Unfortunately the crowds at the games have dropped from 40,000 in their halcyon days to 5,000 now…but they do get 5-6 million watching on the television when we are the live game.
Paul Smalley was the Technical Director here in Bangladesh for the past 3 years and had a massive, positive impact on all youth development in the country particularly with the women’s program and in Coach Education.. he has laid the foundations nicely for the next person to pick up and run with.
What differences are apparent in terms of coaching or working in the country compared to your home nation?
There’s naturally a bigger pool of better quality coaches in the UK and Australia…the Bangladesh coaches have only recently had exposure to consistent coach education so there are less of them that are qualified, but they are astute, very keen and quick to learn.
We also have coaches from Spain, Portugal and Cyprus coaching in the Professional league here, so this a large mix of influences around.
How is your role helping to shape the club culture…have you made any significant changes?
On the pitch we are developing a style of play that is recognized as the “Mohammedan style”, we have introduced a lot of younger players with an eye on the future rather than recycling older players. Off the pitch we have introduced an ongoing Strength and Conditioning program and changed the players diet and nutrition …..no more rice & curries at 10pm at night, which as ypu may imagine is a task in itself.
Would you recommend coaches getting some experience abroad?
Coaching abroad is an unbelievable experience and helps towards a better coach and person, mainly because all of the external factors that you have to deal with…it can be a difficult decision to make when you have a family but sometimes… you’ve just got to follow your dreams and aspirations.
What’s been the best thing for your personal development thus far?
Dealing with the cultural differences….resources, food, traffic. All of these things which are mini challenges within themselves, still provide opportunities to find solutions.
What things have been challenging in your current or past roles?
We played a league game last year with one half of the pitch mowed and rolled and the other unmowed and unrolled….half an hour before kickoff they were cutting the pitch with a domestic lawn mower.
Dealing with “Ramadan”, the players are not supposed to eat or drink anything in daylight hours according to their religion…a real challenge when you’re doing double sessions and its 37 degrees…..and the odd player going down with Dengue Fever !
Has anything developed you more than if you were working in UK?
Coaching full time has been the best education, its all-consuming, you have time to plan and prepare properly and you’re delivering sessions every day. Having the chance to be immersed fully in what you’re doing is a game changer.
The future -what’s next for you?
Top 5 this year with a young side and build on that the following season.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my football inspiration from coaches who think differently and who are better than I am.
Intelligent senior players are always a good sounding board about what’s working and what’s not.
Family is the biggest inspiration particularly when they’ve made sacrifices and backed you all the way…..you don’t want to let them down.