BFF AFC A coaching course going strong

Dhaka, November 10: The first ever AFC certified A level coaching course is well under way with 24 senior coaches from around the country. It is the highest certification in domestic football. Although still not a requirement for premier league clubs, a certified A level coach is required for all AFC tournaments and competitions.

Technical director Paul Smalley said, “Hopefully it will also become a requirement for the BPL clubs to have an A level certified coach to be able to play in the competition.”

This 150-hour course broken up in two phases has 64 hours of practical and 78 hours of theoretical sessions. Participants are also required to submit and present a number of post course projects that they will be assigned besides the 3 practical assessments and 2 theoretical exams.

Being the top domestic qualification for coaches, the participants are mostly senior BFF and club coaches known across the country including Joseph Afusi, the Nigerian coach of Sheikh Jamal.

Parvez Babu, BFF coach of the national U16 boys team, said that he wanted to help create players. The former Bangladesh player said, “I have got a lot from football and it is time I gave back what I can.”

He said that football was evolving continuously with new practices and customs being adopted to produce even better players. “For instance, we used to do static exercise after dynamic exercise, but we learnt here that should not be done.”

Himself a former club player, Babu said that the course was very enlightening about modern football.

Rashed Ahmed Pappu, who just joined Mohammadan Sporting, has been a coach for the last 6 years. He only retired after ligaments in both his feet gave in and he could not play anymore. “But football is something I love. So, coaching was an obvious choice.”

He said, “Team management is essential when you aim to improve players. That is part of the course too and would prove to be very beneficial in the field for me.”

Mohammad Abdul Qayum Santu, an assistant coach of Arambagh, had also been a former player. He said that the course taught them about the five components of practice sessions. “Sure we knew about them but never quite practised them in the field but here we learn the theoretical importance and also get to apply them practically in the field.”

Shahidul Islam Shapon from Bogra has been overwhelmed since the day he came. He said football did not get the kind of endorsement that it did in Dhaka. “But for me it is an addiction. I cannot live without football.”

The insurance salesman who has been coaching for almost two decades said that he only got to work with teams seasonally and that is never enough to build a good footballing unit. “But the tactics that I learn here will certainly help me build better teams even for that small duration.”

Joseph Afusi, who has been coaching Sheikh Jamal for five years now, said that he already had A level certification in Europe. “I am learning about the different aspects of football under the AFC.”

He said, “We are learning here how to develop and improve the team in the right direction with the proper techniques.”

Paul Smalley said the top level coaching course had a good mix of coaches from BFF, top clubs and the districts. “There are people with experience at the international level too.”

The BFF will conduct a coaching instructors’ course producing more trainers of coaches later this year in December which requires a B or A level certification. “I would expect a bulk of those coaching instructors to come from this course.”

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