From coaches to elite managers . . . Zim coaches promise exciting football Honour Janza

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

CAF coaching instructor Honour Janza says Zimbabwean football is set for massive transformation after coaches responded in their numbers to the call by ZIFA to go back in class for the Elite Coaches refresher course aimed at validating CAF A coaching licences.

The Zambian national is currently conducting a five-day course which has drawn together over 40 coaches in Harare as clubs prepare for the upcoming 2023 season.

All the 18 Premier Soccer League clubs and some Division One teams are represented at the clinic which aims to update coaches with the latest trends in coaching.

In fact, Janza said they are moving from the old system where coaches would be confined to the football pitch to a new concept that upgrades them to the position of “elite managers”.

“Generally, a coach is mostly invested with knowledge of football coaching itself but at this level of CAF A, there are components of management which goes beyond the playing field alone,” said Janza.

“It also encompasses the issues of media management; addressing the club philosophy, the club’s needs, the corporate image of the club and also management of players’ transfers contracts.

“The modern managers are these coaches that should be able to relate their football coaching with the understanding of budgeting and so forth; administrative issues.

“Prior to the season, they must follow up on accommodation contracts at home and away and transport. In some other countries they have contracts with airlines because of the distances, for instance in South Africa.

“All these things the coach should be able to understand and to know what is in place. So this defines that the coach also becomes a manager. He also has to manage the backroom staff.

“Gone are the days that the coach will only have two or three personnel around him. The coaches of this calibre, at their level, their backroom staff goes beyond seven to eight, nine and as a result they need managerial skills, human resources management and other managerial skills that should be able to harmonise everybody around.

“You will find that there are also the issues of player management. You have to talk to the player, motivate the player, bring the player that is motivated to speed; how do you manage a player that is demotivated or that has psychological challenges? So as a manager you have to overcome all those things.

“So we are moving away from the concept of being just a mere coach who knows the ball and himself, the ball and the player but it goes beyond that now,” said Janza.

The travelled coach educator also said it was key for Zimbabwe to be holding these refresher courses despite the curse of the FIFA suspension hanging above domestic football.

As it stands, all Zimbabwean CAF holders were sitting on expired badges. According to Article 32 of the CAF coaching convention, a CAF A coaching licence is valid for three years, after the year of issue or renewal.

The licence is renewed for a further three years if its holder has completed a refresher course organized by a Convention Member. Zimbabwe last held a CAF A coaching course back in 2017.

“I think this refresher course has a lot of bearing and has got an impact on the game because it cleans out the dust and the cobwebs. It’s an issue of capacity building and knowledge acquisition.

“It’s important that you refresh your knowledge after a certain period of time so that you can catch up with the new trends.

“If the coaches are not updating their badges it will be a risk for the country going forward because sooner or later you never know what will happen with the issues of FIFA suspension.

“Any of the developments going forward must find you ready, especially the coaches on the ground. This is an ongoing thing; this refresher course goes deep down to try to help the country in readiness for anything that may come in the future.

“So it is good for Zimbabwe to have a refresher course in the midst of whatever is happening. It’s like you may be quarantined in some situations but health-wise you need to be proactive; you must bath, you must eat despite you being quarantined for you to be alive because soon or later you will be released and must be able to manage what is ahead of you,” said Janza.

Soccer Coaches Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Newsome Mtema, who is part of the gathering hailed the course.

“Really, it is a good programme with a lot of aspects that we are learning despite that there was some resistance at first. But you cannot resist knowledge, we all want to learn every day and this is really an eye-opener and as coaches we are also sharing knowledge and experiences,” he said.

“Football is dynamic. It keeps developing. Everyday things are changing so you just need to keep abreast and acquire as much knowledge so that we better ourselves and when we are readmitted to the international family we will not be left behind and will be able to compete against other coaches who are having their programmes running.

“The content we are having here will go a long way and we hope we will get enough support from the administrators because we cannot do it in isolation. The coaches are ready and we hope this season is going to be a thriller and we are going to see a lot of entertaining football and we hope to see the fans returning to fill up the stadiums this season,” said Mtema.

Championship winning coach Norman Mapeza said the course, which began on Wednesday and is expected to end tomorrow, has given a platform for local coaches to share knowledge.

“It’s a massive initiative. I think one of the most important things was for us coaches to interact, learn a lot from what is happening around the world.

“We have been sharing ideas and I think it was a great eye-opener for all of us. What is important for us is to take whatever we have been learning here and implement those things at our clubs,” said Mapeza.

Highlanders coach Baltemar Brito was also impressed.

“The course is very good, it’s high quality, it has a lot of content and people have been asking questions and from that I think everyone will be able to find their way in different situations,” said Brito.

The course was officially opened yesterday by acting ZIFA president Gift Banda who was accompanied by the association’s acting chief executive officer Xolisani Gwesela and the national teams general manager Wellington Mpandare.

Banda thanked all participants for attending the capacity building programme and went on to commend clubs for allowing their coaches to attend a “course for valuing the importance of capacity development.”

Janza was assisted by the ZIFA Technical Director Wilson Mutekede, veteran instructors Nelson Matongorere and Richard Tswatswa who are also facilitators at the course.

The key elements that the coaches are going through include game situations, analysis of team performance and programmes, scientific approach to football, periodisation and dugout management.

ZIFA are currently seized with organising more refresher courses for CAF B and CAF C coaching holders.

Mutekede said they will continue with refresher coaches’ courses and certification of local football trainers arguing that FIFA and CAF did not ban Zimbabweans from acquiring football knowledge when they suspended the country from all international football activities last year.

The Elite Coaches refresher course comes a week after ZIFA successfully held a goalkeepers’ course.

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