Friday, July 25, 2014

Are CAF courses worthwhile?

With Jarcqi Shipanga, Brave Gladiators coach and CAF Instructor
Since the Confederation of African Football decided to follow the global trend of licencing coaches based on the common UEFA pattern, many countries implemented the licensing system and afforded coaches the CAF C, B and A qualifications. I am personally at the beginning of that chain despite the fact that I qualified for some equivalent.

My personal observation, having attended the best in South America and in Europe, is that all the course material is the same. What the system does is to equip coaches with uniform qualification based on the elementary, intermediate and advanced coaching material, most of which matches UEFA and FIFA modules very closely at each level.

What happened before, as I went through all the different level materials meant for the CAF licenses, is that what I taught as Level 1 and 2 was regarded as Level 3 or 4 (Advanced) in some countries and even in the current set-up. Regardless of where one acquires their badges in Africa, there will be a certain degree of understanding of their knowledge, aptitude and understanding, provided they started with the current system.

In attending the courses from the low level, the challenge is the interaction and even the examinations. Does one participate to the best of their knowledge and ability, or stoop low as a novice? Both scenarios have a danger. One does not want to be correctly answering each and every question and arguing the basics that are not necessarily correct at a higher level. That can extremely annoy the instructor big time.

To also take a back seat and let others digest the course material and assimilate all the data can be boring as well as raise question marks about your credibility, because the course directors and instructors have your CV, which they suspect you doctored anyway.

That is not helped by the examination time as the candidates begin to wonder on the requirements at that level. How much details suffices or is inadequate, is a source of another headache when writing the examinations or doing the practicals. The battle is fighting the urge to provide TMI (Too Much Information) yet providing relevant information and coaching.

One common aspect at different stages of learning is in mathematics. One divided by four in lower grades, the answer is; it can’t. At a higher level, things change. This is the dilemma of working at lower levels.

National associations have been asked to run ‘equivalent course’ for those coaches with foreign certificates or extensive prior experience as coaches or players. This noble idea had holes in it. Equivalent course students write examinations, in most cases, it is oral. Missing some bits of class makes a mammoth difference. The answers to their questions include the material from the level of the course of their ‘equivalent’.  

Otherwise, it is great to see the continent trying to bring at par all colleagues, and that parity is aimed at bridging the gap with Europe’s best. CAF Pro is being drafted and should be in line with the UEFA Pro. CAF and UEFA are working on the syllabus and the instructors for these courses.

This is Africa and those responsible for running the courses are less likely to freely help people they think will take their positions. (Who cares about positions?). If you are somewhere out of the ordinary, you will have to hassle big time, but good luck. See you in the next class.