Friday 07 October 2022, 03:00

FIFA and CBF join forces to upskill youth coaches in Cuba

  • Havana hosted a course attended by 17 coach instructors who will deliver the C Licence in the country

  • The programme was part of the collaboration agreement between the Cuban FA and Brazilian FAs

  • FIFA fosters and assists with the coordination of agreements between its member associations

Havana provided the setting for a coach instructors’ course organised as part of the collaboration agreement between the Cuban Football Association (AFC) and the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) aimed at allowing the participating coaches to deliver the C Licence in Cuba. The course brought the curtain down on the partnership between the two institutions, which was launched in 2018 and has also involved courses in youth football and refereeing.

FIFA promoted the link-up through its Member Associations Americas Subdivision and assisted in the organisation of the instructors’ course, which combined the methodologies adopted by the FIFA Coach Educators’ Development Programme and the CBF Academy. “In line with FIFA’s vision to make football truly global, such agreements are vital when it comes to bringing us closer to our member associations and fostering the development of the game in key areas. The idea is always to share the lessons we’ve learnt, seek areas for improvement and reproduce these kinds of agreements throughout the world,” explained Javier Gonzalez, development coordinator at the FIFA Regional Office in Asuncion. “FIFA offers its support and assistance in terms of coordination. In this instance, FIFA has been helping the AFC and CBF since 2018 in the collaboration agreement that is focused on the training of instructors. The ultimate aim is to achieve sustainable development,” added Gonzalez.

FIFA Development Partnership Cuba (AFC) and Brazil (CBF): Coach Training Collaboration

“It’s been a privilege for us to have been involved in this partnership,” stated Oliet Rodriguez, AFC President. “Having a relationship with such a prestigious institution has strengthened us as an organisation, even in terms of our morale. It has involved two associations that are different in so many ways and yet we have come together and both been willing to share and work together. This has paved the way for what could be a very promising future.” Seventeen instructors from across Cuba descended on the capital for the course, which was held between 12 and 16 September. The training of C Licence coaches is an important element at the foot of the coaching pyramid, with coaches at this level working with boys and girls aged six to 12. “This represents a really significant step for us as an association in the development of the game in our country,” commented Miguel Angel Diaz, AFC General Secretary. “Upskilling our coaches was one of our most pressing needs and it will enable us to go out and take the coaching content, experience and tools into all regions across the country for the benefit of all of the boys and girls to improve their on-field development.”

Course participants attend the class during the FIFA Forward Development Partnership Cuba (AFC) and Brazil: Coach Training Collaboration in Havana, Cuba

The AFC’s course coordinator Jose Yulier Herranz revealed that there was a strategic approach to the recruitment of coaches on the programme. “The selection process was based on a study carried out by the Technical Department.

"We were keen to bring together the leading coaches in Cuba, those who excel as coaches out on the grass, the specialists, our doctors in science and retired athletes, etc. We wanted to put them into a different environment, but one in which they received training, were assessed and got us to a point where the CBF could bring them together to be able to run the C Licence.”

The programme comprised eight modules and 40 hours of in-person classes, which featured both theoretical and practical sessions. Antonio Cimirro, a CBF Academy instructor and a technical coach development expert at FIFA, was tasked with leading the course.

Antonio Cimirro, Coaching instructor of the CBF Academy, talks to course participants at the Pedro Marrero stadium, during the FIFA Forward Development Partnership Cuba (AFC) and Brazil

“The instructors we’ve had here are very smart, well equipped and really reflected on the processes involved. I’ve seen some significant progress across the board. I’m certain this will have a major impact because thanks to these coach educators and licensed coaches, Cuba will produce better players and human beings in the coming three, four or five years,” noted Cimirro.

Darien Hansel Diaz Perez, 46, is a former Cuba international who represented the national team with distinction. Despite already serving as the Cuban FA’s national teams’ director, he was keen to take part in the training programme, saying: “This will bring immediate results because we’ll now travel to all of the provinces to share this knowledge and offer our coaches a whole range of tools.

"We’ll assess them to ensure that they’re equipped to work with children aged six to 12, who represent the foundations to improve the standards of football in any given country.”

Rodriguez stressed that the future looks bright for the AFC: “Through its development projects, FIFA has offered some really well-structured support in terms of its methodology so as to allow associations with massive disparities to work together to strengthen each other.”

FIFA Development Partnership Cuba (AFC) and Brazil (CBF): Coach Training Collaboration

“We’re aware that there are limitations in Cuba when it comes to infrastructure, but not in practical or theoretical terms, and we’re capable of bridging that gap. As an intermediary, FIFA has designed a project that we hope offers Cuba and other developing countries a promising future.”

For Alejandro Calvente Arroyo, Regional Office Development Coordinator of the Member Associations Americas Subdivision, "the exchange of knowledge is a pillar that enhances and accelerates development. Taking advantage of the experience acquired and generating spaces for mutual learning between Member Federations generates visible positive impacts for both parties almost immediately".

The sample, Calvente Arroyo adds, is within reach. "The exchange between the AFC and the CBF has been a clear example that this type of activity generates qualitative leaps of great relevance, which is why I believe it is paramount to continue promoting collaborative methodologies to favour the sustainable development of all our Member Federations."