Instructor calls for more top level opportunities for local coaches

HENRY Abiodun, a football coaching instructor, says Africa must produce more local coaches at the top level to be able to compete favourably at the global stage.

Abiodun who is the Lead Instructor at a two-day workshop tagged “The Modern-Day Football Coach” in Abuja told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday that this was highly necessary.

He said he was worried about the number of foreign coaches in Africa, and it is highly necessary to do something about it at this point in time.

“Out of a total of 56 African countries affiliated to Confederation of African Football (CAF), no fewer than 25 of them have their national teams being managed by foreign coaches.

“This must change. Africa must own its own space, if we are going to get the respect of the larger world,” the instructor with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and CAF said.

He said he was however impressed with the fact that the five African representatives at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar were all managed by local coaches.

Abiodun said it was a massive step for the growth of African coaches, who he noted had now grown with the courage to take over at the highest level.

“All five African teams who featured in Qatar –– Morocco, Ghana, Tunisia, Cameroon and Senegal –– had African coaches at the helm. That’s something that’s never happened before in the history of the World Cup.

“Walid Regragui led the highly impressive Moroccan team which broke the record as the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup,” he said.

NAN reports that the coaches at the Qatar World Cup were Regragui, Aliou Cisse of Senegal, Rigobert Song of Cameroon, Jalel Kadri of Tunisia and Ghana’s Otto Addo.

The instructor lamented the fact that there were only a handful of licensed CAF A coaches in Nigeria, pointing out that this has affected the growth and development of other coaches in the country.

He noted that it was in order to improve the standard of coaching in Africa that CAF introduced a law which forbids any coach without an A Licence to lead a national team or club on the continent.

“I know this may sound funny, as most coaches may ask `why should I have a certificate when I am already a good coach?’ However, the truth is, you can be a good driver but it is an offence to drive without a valid driver’s licence.

“This is also a great idea because for a long period, since 2016, we have not had CAF A coaching courses in Nigeria and this has greatly stunted the anticipated progression of our coaches from the CAF C to CAF B and CAF A certifications.

“We only have about 39 certified CAF A coaches in Nigeria, with a large number of these coaches lecturing in various higher institutions in the country and not working with professional football clubs.

“The truth is that, we can only develop top quality players if we have qualified coaches and that is the aim of organising trainings/workshops such as this one on modern-day football coaching,” Abiodun said.(NAN)