Saturday 14 April 2018, 10:01

Technical director training takes next steps in Africa

  • Eight technical directors from eight CAF MAs attend workshop

  • Second module of training, following on from first in Malawi in 2016

  • Main topics covered were coach education and elite youth development

FIFA has started with phase two of its technical directors training and support programme in Africa. From 10-12 April the technical directors of eight member associations from the Southern and East African region attended the pilot workshop for Module 2B (Technical) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The three-day course covered the topics of coach education and elite youth development. The eight delegates all attended the first FIFA technical directors workshop (Module 1) in Malawi two years ago at which a general overview of the role of the national technical director was outlined.

“This workshop was a step up from the work that was done in Malawi in 2016,” said Jürg Nepfer, FIFA's Head of Technical Development Services and the co-ordinator of the workshop. “There, we concentrated on applying a project management approach to tackling the vast and complex work of being a technical director.

"Here, we have moved to a higher level of discussion and we looked at two of the most important aspects of the developmental task of the technical director. Without qualified, competent coaches working with the players and teams, and without a well-run elite youth programme, the game cannot grow.”

  • Neil Tovey (South Africa)

  • Timothy Tjongarero (Namibia)

  • Salum Mamadi (Tanzania)

  • Bekisisa Mkhonta (Swaziland)

  • John Kaputa (Malawi)

  • Francis Oti-Akenteng (Ghana)

  • Ulric Mathiot (Seychelles)

  • Abdul Rassullassine Abdulla (Mozambique)

The technical directors who attended the workshop were also joined by Dominique Niyonzima, senior manager in the technical and development department of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Fran Hilton-Smith, Head of Women's Football at the South African Football Association (SAFA) and Frans Mogashoa, Coach Education Manager at SAFA.

"As technical directors we have the responsibility to ensure that we have coaches working at that level who are qualified and capable, and that the most talented young players are identified and channeled into effective elite player programmes." Abdul Rassullassine Abdulla Techical Director, Mozambique

The FIFA delegation at the event was led by Steven Maartens, FIFA's Technical Director and included, along with Nepfer, Hansruedi Hasler (Switzerland), Willi Ruttensteiner (Austra), Matjaz Jaklic (Slovenia) and Ashford Mamelodi (Botswana), all current and former technical directors and development officers.

Also in attendance were David Fani, Development Manager of FIFA’s regional office in Johannesburg and Govinden Thondoo, who is FIFA’s Technical Consultant for the region. They will have the important responsibility of following up with monitoring, advice and assistance to ensure that the concepts learned at the workshop are implemented in the member associations represented.

The workshop followed an innovative and interactive format which saw the FIFA experts present the modules in sessions that involved the whole group - alongside one of the technical directors attending - who put the topic into context by sharing their experiences in their own country, in order to give real world examples. The technical directors were then split into smaller groups to discuss specific topics before reporting back to the main group.

Topics covered on day one

  • Coach education

  • The role of the technical director as the advocate of the need for properly qualified coaches

  • The importance of the person responsible for implementation of a coaches education programme

  • The way adults learn and the importance of using an effective methodology

  • The difference between a coach instructor and a coaches mentor

  • Advice on building closer relationships with coaches

"__There are areas in coaching education and talent identification that we can build on. I’m looking forward to getting back and starting on that." Francis Oti-Akenteng Techical Director, Ghana

Topics covered on days two and three

  • The importance of an elite youth programme within the member associations

  • The responsibility for creating and adhering to a philosophy of elite youth management

  • The criteria for talent identification

  • The importance of regular, appropriate competitions

  • The pathway for youth development; the role of elite youth coaches

  • The management of youth national teams

  • The duty of care placed on the technical director to ensure that the interests of the player were always paramount

The delegation then visited the training centre of South African Premier League side Kaizer Chiefs to witness a local example of a club youth academy and to see how youth development is handled at that particular organisation.

Maartens felt that the workshop was positively received, considering it was a pilot edition.

“There is some fine-tuning that we need to do, and we will have to look at making it relevant to specific regions when we roll it out, but it went well and the passion and enthusiasm of the technical directors was pleasing,” he said.

“The challenge now is to monitor and support the programmes of these technical directors. The FIFA Forward programme allocates USD$1.25 million to each member association and we want to ensure that the technical directors have access to those funds to implement projects in the areas covered by the workshop.”

The next step is for these technical directors to attend the Module 2A (Leadership and Management) workshop next year. The pilot workshop for that particular module will be held in Thailand from April 24-26.

"We get so caught up in our work that we do that we don’t remember that others are facing the same challenges and there might be solutions there. This workshop has allowed cross-pollination and an exchange of ideas that can only be good for all of us." Neil Tovey Technical Director, South Africa

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