Saturday 09 December 2023, 07:30

Technical leaders focus on achieving excellence as part of FIFA Diploma in Japan

  • 25 participants attended the second of four in-person workshops

  • FIFA Technical Leadership Diploma is an 18-month long course also featuring online learning

  • The group visited the Japan Football Association, and also gained insights from a multinational automobile company

Achieving excellence was the focus for 25 participants attending block two of FIFA’s new Technical Leadership Diploma held in Chiba, Japan, between 4-9 December. Technical Leaders from Member Associations and Confederations across the globe explored ‘Kaizen’, the Japanese principle of continuous improvement, during the six-day workshop that included study visits to Toyota, Sumo Training Stables and the Japan Football Association.

Japan Football Association Secretary General Tsuneyasu Miyamoto

During the trip to the host member association, the Diploma cohort enjoyed a Q&A with former Japan men’s national team captain, and current JFA General Secretary, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, as well as a discussion with former FIFA Women’s World player of the year, Homare Sawa. Achieving excellence in the areas of Talent ID and Recruitment, Coach Education, National Teams and Quality Assurance was also covered by the participants, who include Croatia’s Stipe Pletikosa, Jaqueline Shipanga from the Namibian FA and Lili Bai of the Asian Football Confederation. “Japan has proved to be the perfect location for block two of the Technical Leadership Diploma and the focus on achieving excellence,” said Jamie Houchen, FIFA Head of Technical Leadership.

Technical Leadership Diploma in Chiba, Japan - Jamie Houchen speaks

“The unique Japanese culture and tradition as well as the focus on long-term planning and total quality management allowed all participants to look at what excellence looks like in a different context. Most importantly, there has been a lot of planning and consideration with regards to transferring these lessons back into their own associations.” “I thought the link between Toyota and high performance in football was very clear,” said Lyson Zulu, Football Association of Zambia Technical Director. “Toyota are vulnerable and to want to learn in order to meet the needs of their customers. They have a desire to achieve the goals that they have set. There's so much that Technical Directors can learn from these high performing institutions.” Reflecting on the week, Namibia’s Shipanga underlined the importance for Technical Directors to develop positive relationships in order to run effective projects. “Block two of the Diploma has been a great opportunity for technical directors and leaders to learn more about how to really build relationships, because I think that's where success really starts,” she said. “After the relationships have been built, you then look at how to plan and implement and make an impact with the opportunities that you have been presented with,” added Shipanga.

Homare Sawa and Patricia Gonzalez, Team Lead Talent Coaches - FIFA Talent Coaches, at the FIFA Technical Leadership Diploma in Chiba, Japan

Globally recognised qualification’ for Technical Leaders

FIFA’s new Technical Leadership Diploma, which aims to become the ‘globally recognised qualification’ for Technical Leaders working in the game, was launched in Rio de Janeiro in May.

“When we launched the FIFA Technical Leadership Diploma earlier in 2023, we stated that the aim was for the course to become the globally recognised qualification for Technical Leaders and help produce the very highest quality of graduates to lead football around the world,” said Houchen.

“Having seen the quality of the work that has been showcased this week in Japan and the richness of the discussions and debate, we genuinely believe we are on course to achieving this aim.”

When we launched the Diploma, the aim was to become 'the' globally recognised qualification for Technical Leaders.”

Jamie Houchen
FIFA Head of Technical Leadership

The 18-month-long course prepares Technical Leaders for the distinct challenges and opportunities faced in the role and covers five core domain areas:

  1. Technical leadership

  2. High performance

  3. Coach education

  4. Amateur football

  5. Management

The cohort will meet again during two further face-to-face events in 2024 with the next event to be held in the Netherlands in May. All 25 participants listed below received a personal invite to join the programme:

  • Aabed Alansari (Bahrain)

  • Ross Awa (Guam)

  • Indra Sjafri (Indonesia)

  • Bassem Mohamad (Lebanese Football Association)

  • Carles Romagosa (The Football Association of Thailand)

  • Bhekisisa Boy Mkhonta (Eswatini)

  • Benjamin Kumwenda (Football Association of Malawi)

  • Jaqueline Shipanga (Namibia Football Association)

  • Walter Steenbok (South African Football Association)

  • Ali Mwebe (Federation of Uganda Football Associations)

  • Lyson Zulu (Football Association Of Zambia)

  • Iván Novella (Colombian Football Association)

  • Anton Corneal (Trinidad And Tobago)

  • Luis Castro (Argentinian Football Association)

  • Stipe Pletikosa (Croatian Football Federation)

  • Kay Cossington (The Football Association)

  • Janno Kivisild (Estonian Football Association)

  • Marians Pahars (Latvian Football Federation)

  • Diana Bulgaru (Football Association Of Moldova)

  • Andrew Gould (The Scottish Football Association)

  • Lili Bai (Asian Football Confederation)

  • Jayne Ludlow (Manchester City Women)

  • Patricia Gonzalez (FIFA)

  • Buman-Uchral Bold (Mongolian Football Federation)

  • Ricardo Leão - Brazilian Football Association

FIFA Technical Leadership Diploma in Japan - presentation on the Samurai