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it's about excellence

By unknown | Feb 04, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

The biggest problem is: Who is teaching the coaches what to teach?

The biggest problem is: Who is teaching the coaches what to teach?

As the mentality transfers through from the teachers/instructors to the students and then to players, it is essential that the background of those assigned to develop coaches must be relevant to the concept and style of what is generally accepted as superior football.

It would be harmful if, for example, the coaching concept and methods clash with the nature of players as appears to be the case in some African countries.

To prevent it, in the bulk of top football nations, those who train the coaches must have - in addition to qualifications - useful and/or successful playing or coaching experience that reflects the same football philosophy that he/she preaches.

During the 2007 Soccerex, several football personalities from Africa and South America expressed their dissatisfaction regarding inconsistencies emerging from the content of coaching courses conducted by Fifa instructors.

The criticism refers to the course content that is heavily influenced by German and Dutch youth and performance coaching theories while neglecting valuable contributions of new research or successful developments of other countries.

Examples of advanced methodologies applied in France, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Spain etc., that are not considered in the content of courses run by Fifa, should raise concern.

It is significant that worldwide, coaches' interest in recent years on seminars, workshops and technical conferences addressing aspects of maximising skill at youth level and quality standards of football performance has vastly increased.

It is both sad and ironical that everything Trevor Brooking and Carlos Alberto have indicated as challenges to match the high quality football played by the world's best teams was offered 15 years back in South Africa by the then-unique concept of the School of Excellence at Esselenpark.

For the first time ever, the idea of maximising technique as a prime condition for high performance in football produced the first generation of 96 excellent players, of which 16 attracted the interest of foreign clubs while the rest were promoted by local professional clubs.

The concept was acclaimed and recommended to the rest of the world by Fifa, Brazilian, French, German and Dutch experts. The signing of a very young Steven Pienaar by Ajax Amsterdam and Mbulelo Mabizela by Tottenham Hotspur proved the exceptional efficiency of the coaching approach.

While the same advanced methods have been delivering the likes of Messi, C Ronaldo, Bojan, Giovani Dos Santos, etc., the pioneer project of this approach developed in South Africa has been lost in its own country.

Sheer ignorance and visionary blindness of football administrators contributed to the extinction of the concept. Yet, it could have been the pride of SA football.

A scientifically enriched solution for maximising playing ability based on the specificity of children's bio-social traits has been recently developed by The Football Institute in South Africa.

Compared with the methodology applied back in 1993 at the School of Excellence this new version contains several training/coaching innovations.

Not yet recognised in South Africa it has, however, gained immediate appreciation from technicians of other football nations.

In Nigeria, Kickers Soccer Academy, the leading government-sponsored project, is one of the youth academies that show keen interest in introducing our latest "technology" in their programme.

Emmanuel Emechete, the director of coaching programme at Kickers Academy concludes: "Your concept is out of this world, awesome! It provides complete and better answers to the development of African football.:

The key factor that causes South Africa to miss out on the advancement of technical development and performance is found in the current conceptual and structural set-up of football organisation.

The "root to branch" philosophy of technical development that is universally responsible for superior football is not yet applicable in South African football."

As the ruling body, the Football Association can't exercise its technical authority over the youth development that takes place in the professional clubs or independent academies.

The association cannot supervise nor influence coaching in professional clubs either.

The two "technical entities emerging separately from the PSL and Safa do not concur with the absolute need for a national unitary policy and programme of technical progress.

In other words, the "root" and the "branch" exist in isolation.

Even if there is a change in the current concept, these things are unlikely to change because there is no technical department currently in operation to implement technical policies and programmes".

There is technical information, training solutions and new research data available that could be extremely beneficial to coaches at all levels.

The thing is that there is no programme or forum to disseminate this information.

This paradox baffles those who witness the decline of football in the country. Football is a commercial enterprise, but.

The world's most prominent football technicians warned the administrators of the game long ago about the capital importance of technical development in commercialising the game. They were not wrong nor were they shortsighted.

Today the financial gains of the giant football enterprise are directly proportional to the quality of merchandise, such as exceptional skills, innovative football and entertaining styles.

It is not surprising then that those youngsters who have the magic to play "fantasy football" are becoming the most expensive players.

Football is a commercial enterprise but only as successful as the product, the player.

Ultimately, it is all about youth, excellence and pride. The sooner we acknowledge that the better.

l This was the final part of the four articles.


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