West Bromwich Albion fitness coach Ade Mafe has worked with some of the biggest names in football and has vowed to use all his experience to make the Baggies a lean, mean athletic machine this season.
Albion face a marathon of a Championship season but former Olympic sprinter Mafe has learned the secrets of being able to stay the pace after ten years working with Chelsea.
Mafe was hired by then Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit and has also worked under Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri and most-notably Jose Mourinho.
Now the 43-year-old, who qualified for the 200m final of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles aged just 18, has taken over from Dan Harris as head of sports science at The Hawthorns as part of Roberto Di Matteo’s new regime, which includes coach Eddie Newton, and he will call upon all his experience to get Albion into shape.
“I use the various training techniques I have taken from Chelsea over ten years and my time working at MK Dons and Millwall,” he said.
“I’m taking all the bits and pieces from those experiences and adding that on to what’s here already. That proved very successful at MK Dons last year. It was the first time we all worked together and we complemented each other really well.
“Eddie’s work on the football side of things and my work on the conditioning side of things complement each other really well and that produces results on the football pitch.
“All of the managers I worked with at Chelsea made an impression – from Ruud Gullit at the beginning to Mr Mourinho at the end. Mourinho more than most, his training regime was completely different and his attitude towards training and fitness. His philosophy about football was not unique but it was different from everybody else. He had a big book that everyone got hold of, people read, took and developed as they saw fit.
“I think you will see the coaches who were at Chelsea when he was there have moved on and will prove to be successful – Brendan Rodgers, Steve Clarke, Eddie Newton.
“I have the FA Fitness Award and the one thing I have over a lot of people is experience. I had two Italian fitness coaches at Chelsea and one Portuguese.
“I’ve been witness to a team winning several trophies over the last six years and I know the techniques used and how they work. I hope applying them here will hopefully help bring success.
“You can have all the qualifications in the world but I think the experience is the most paramount thing.
“Applying that experience and the psychology of performance, and trying to get the best out of the players you work with on the training field and on a match-day is key. It’s about trying to get into their heads so they give you the maximum on a match-day. I have experience of seeing the preparation for an FA Cup Final or a Champions League game, also, in athletics, preparing for a World Championships in Tokyo.
“Being able to perform when required is experience that is invaluable. I hope to bring all my experience to all the people I work with.
“The players are in pretty good nick. I have been very impressed with the work that we have been doing so far.
“The boys have responded really well so far to what I am bringing in and what the manager and Eddie are bringing in as far as the football is concerned.
“The attitude and application of all the players since we have been here has been fantastic.”