Stakeholders see football coaching education as future of the game
Branimir Ujevic (left), head of coaching and player development at FIFA, addresses the participants of the FIFA/CONCACAF Coach Educators Course at AC Hotel in Kingston on Monday (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

FOOTBALL'S world governing body Fifa and the confederation's head Concacaf are hoping the ongoing Coach Educators Pathway Course in Jamaica will help to further advance the sport.

The five-day course began on Monday at AC Hotel Kingston and saw 18 coach educators from seven Concacaf member associations, including Jamaica and Haiti, receive the necessary exposure to lead the development and mentoring of student coaches in the region.

Head of coaching and player development at Fifa Branimir Ujevic told the Jamaica Observer the course is vital to improving the quality of football worldwide.

"Fifa President's [Gianni Infantino] vision is making football truly global, and one of the pillars is to improve coaching standards and standards of coaching education so we have this approach all over the world where we try to take a holistic approach and improve the level of skills of coach educators. They started their journey two months ago with the e-learning programme, and afterwards they've been in the online course which prepared them to come ready for the on-site course where they will try to apply all their knowledge, skills, and attitude in the classroom sessions and on the field," he said.

Jamaica's Andre Waugh, who is senior development manager at Concacaf, also spoke about the importance of the event.

"Simply put, I think this is the future of football in the region. We have always been challenged with providing the quality of education that the coaches in the region deserve. As such, programmes like these will ensure each member association has a cadre of suitably qualified coach educators to lead the domestic coach education programme that is relevant to the coaches of each of the islands. The future of our game is in the hands of our member associations and the coach educators of our member associations who impart education to our coaches," Waugh said.

Former England Under-17 title-winning coach and Manchester United Academy consultant John Peacock is also on the island through his capacity as a Fifa and UEFA coach educator, and hopes the course will be beneficial to the participants.

"The educator is vital in terms of passing on his or her knowledge to the next generation of coaches who, in turn, will develop the game further in their clubs or enviroment or federation, with the purpose to develop better players. It's an ongoing process but the role of the educator is really quite crucial in the development and improvement of the game," said Peacock.

President of Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts wants Jamaican coaches to help develop the sport across the region.

"We were very excited when we got the news that this workshop would be in Jamaica, and we didn't take it lightly because we want to ensure all our coaches and those around the Caribbean [receive] the opportunity to grow as a group. I often say to my local coaches that we need to spread the love around the Caribbean. We need to make ourselves available so smaller countries around the region can benefit from our own expertise - and I know we have some very young and bright coaches," Ricketts said.

Some of the participants in the course include interim Reggae Girlz and Arnett Gardens Head Coach Xavier Gilbert, Cavalier head coach and JFF Technical Committee head Rudolph Speid, and Glenmuir head coach and head of coaching educaton at the JFF Andrew Peart.

BY DANIEL BLAKE Staff reporter

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