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Sam's Blog is a bi-weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Coaching Director for US Youth Soccer.

 

Football Coaches Association of Africa Nations (FCAAN)

Sam Snow

So what do a couple of soccer junkies do with a few days off?  They go to Africa and conduct a coaching course. On February 16 and 17, Terry Eguaoje and Sam Snow, along with Sam Okpodu, taught an "E" diploma course for the Football Coaches Association of Africa Nations (FCAAN) - http://www.fcaan.org/.

Dr. Eguaoje is the Technical Director for Mississippi Youth Soccer and Mr. Okpodu is the former executive director for South Carolina Youth Soccer, the former head coach for the Women’s National Team for Nigeria, a former player on their Men’s National Team and a NSCAA Instructor.

FCAAN looks to serve coaches across Africa with up-to-date coaching philosophies and methods. This was the inaugural course for the association. The course was conducted at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Lagos, Nigeria and there were 34 coaches in attendance from across Nigeria and Ghana. For most of the coaches this was their first formal coaching education. They proved to be quite receptive to the information delivered and are anxious for more.

The course covered:

  •  Introduction & Orientation
  • What is Football
  • Components of the Game
  • Principles of Play
  • Systems of Play
  • First Aid
  • Team Administration
  • Risk Management
  • Player Characteristics
  • Methods of Coaching
  • Field Session 1 & 2
 
Terry and I both conducted model training sessions as a part of the course. Terry covered the Principles of Defense and I ran a session on the Principles of Attack. A coach in the course provided players from his club in the U17 age group. We had 24 players at each of the model sessions.

For photos from the course click here: http://fcaan.org/gallery.php

The coaches in the course work with mainly players in their teens and early adulthood. As is the case across most of Africa, children do not play on organized football teams. until around the age of twelve the kids play in the neighborhood, at school or at local spots where regular kick-abouts take place. One such place, at least for older players, was in the parking lots surrounding the former national stadium, just outside the NIS. Improvise – adapt – roll the ball and let’s play!

Photo 1

Figure 1 - One of many pick-up games going on next to the former national stadium near the NIS
 

Organized chaos, which is the essence of a football match, takes place at schoolyard games across Nigeria. Students play – all in the same school uniform, but they know who is on each team. That environment demands a high level of mental concentration from the players. This is an aspect of most sandlot games. It is a quality that American clubs should allow when they have ‘street soccer’ days at the club. This will be a positive factor in the growth of the American player. Let us Americans always be open-minded to what we can learn from other footballing nations. Let’s not genuflect at the altar of foreign football, but let’s certainly use what is practical for soccer in the USA.

 

photo 2

Figure 2 - primary scholars playing football
 

After the course was concluded Terry and I took part in one live TV sports show, three taped TV shows and one live sports talk radio show. The newspapers also picked up on the event: http://www.sportsdayonline.com/sports/1769/display

I quite enjoyed my trip and I believe it was an educational experience for all involved. I look forward to the next FCAAN course in which I can take part.