Winning or development?

As an U-17 football coach at Maroons FC, do I look to winning or development?

Do I look to both winning and development or its about success from development.

According to the English dictionary, winning is coming first in a contest, In football its self explanatory, it’s being a champion and collecting a trophy from a tournament in which you have participated in.

As I explained in my previous article entitled “player development“, football development is an improvement in the QUALITY of a players’ skills.

Success is obtaining what you set to achieve or what you aim at.

In Uganda like any other country in the world we are obsessed with winning, who isn’t?

The problem though is that we take winning to a different level, we want to win at the earliest stage possible.

We have unnecessary competition and we do everything possible to create short cuts for winning which all back fires at the most important stage and we lose miserably, create panic situations then we become serial losers.

When a child starts going to school, we hold their hands and make them cross the road.

This keeps on happening everyday, every time so the kids get used to crossing while looking up, down and some even run, we never take the time to teach them how to understand and learn the art of crossing the road so that at one point in life they can be able to do it independently.

It’s not that we don’t want to teach them but we think it’s faster if we help them cross the road all the time.

As time passes you find many cases of grown up people who dread crossing roads or cases of kids who get knocked down when parents send them to the shops.

The same thing happens the exact way in Ugandan football, when we get to under age football we prefer to win at all costs by using over age players in football development tournaments.

Matches are most times won at all costs sacrificing the football development of individuals.

“A win is a win they say”, problem is that during that time, we don’t take the effort to teach these footballers how to learn and develop the basics required to play football at the highest level.

We get tournaments in which there’s absolutely nothing to lose, then we play them like our lives depend on it!

We sometimes win but don’t learn, the same mentality is used in training sessions and friendly games.

We (coaches) never give young footballers the chance to learn and develop as footballers and human beings.

As you sit in the house and wait for the kid you sent out to the shops, you don’t even have the presence of mind to think that you never taught the kid how to cross a road, you never tested them, you never gave them a chance to learn and develop the ability to safely cross the road.

We send teams into qualification and don’t think back that we have never taught footballers how to pass and keep possession, how to cross the ball in the right areas, how to utilize set pieces but we expect a win, we expect qualification.

What have we done differently at Maroons FC U-17?

We believe that winning at all costs is not the priority.

We also believe that we can win AFTER development and we have success stories to attest to that.

We have set up a football syllabus for our U-17 football team.

They learn and develop at each and every topic that we teach, our success comes from them learning and being able to perform the topic we have covered and when they execute it during a match in a pressure environment then it’s success for us.

We are doing this because we believe that Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) has set up the right platform for teaching, testing and developing our U-17 football team.

We are using the FUFA Juniors’ League to develop our young footballers so that when they grow up, we shall be able to “send them to the shops/schools because they will have attained the confidence to do so by themselves”.

They will WIN because of the effort we used to DEVELOP them and hopefully, our SUCCESS as Maroons Football Club will continue to grow to greater heights.

Time will tell.

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