Fawzi Saadi says he will use fellow AFC Bournemouth coach Mark Molesley as his inspiration as he prepares to cut his teeth in football management.
Saadi, who works with the club’s under-12s, was this week unveiled as the new boss of Southern League outfit Blackfield & Langley.
A familiar face on the local non-league circuit, Saadi has played for a host of clubs including Blackfield, Bournemouth Poppies, Poole, Dorchester, Hamworthy United and Brockenhurst.
The goalscoring midfielder progressed through the youth ranks at AFC Bournemouth, earning his first professional contract under Sean O’Driscoll in 2003.
And although he did not feature competitively for the Cherries, Saadi appeared in high-profile pre-season friendlies against Manchester United and Tottenham.
Saadi, who succeeds Glenn Howes at Gang Warily, is hoping to follow Molesley’s example, the former Cherries midfielder having taken Weymouth to the upper reaches of National South.
“I’m excited by the challenge,” Saadi told afcb.co.uk. “It’s a big step for me because I’ve never managed before but I’m up for it.
“Stuart Barker, the new chairman at Blackfield, messaged to ask if I would be interested in the job. I said I would but that I was mainly a technical football coach.
“We had a call on Zoom last week and spoke about the budget, my ambitions and the club’s targets. He called me the next day to offer me the job and I accepted.
“Hopefully, my playing experience will come in handy and I am still going to play. I feel I can take a lot of my experience and knowledge into the job.
“I’ve learned so much in the past five or six years coaching at Bournemouth and am still learning.
“The aim for me at Blackfield is to develop young players even though some of them are in their late 20s. There is always room for improvement, irrespective of how old you are.
“When I was at Poppies, I wasn’t managing the team in terms of the financial stuff but I picked the team and did the coaching so it was similar.
“Glenn Howes did a great job at Blackfield by getting them from the Wessex League into the Southern League so I know he will be a hard act to follow.
“But I look at what Mark Molesley has done at Weymouth. He has worked wonders there and has used all the knowledge he has gained from coaching at AFC Bournemouth.
“He has achieved something a lot of other coaches haven’t and I am hoping to follow his lead. I will take inspiration from him.”
Saadi added: “Blackfield know my main commitment is to Bournemouth and what I do there must fit in with what I do here.
“I can’t describe the buzz of working here. We’ve got great team of coaches and everybody works for each other. A lot of us played together so that helps as well.
“The first-team manager and his staff regularly come to watch sessions and they are always encouraging us.
“As coaches, we are all trying to bring players through for the first team and trying to do the right thing for the club.”
Asked about playing against Manchester United in Mel Machin’s testimonial, Saadi said: “It was probably the highlight of my life.
“If any of the kids ask me if I played for anyone, I just show them that picture of me playing against Ryan Giggs and Juan Veron and you gain their respect!”