The term technical director gets thrown around quite often in Ugandan football.
It’s usually a veteran coach, moving with the senior team of a club and in most cases gets involved in training sessions something I have always thought makes it one of the most misused job titles in Ugandan football.
Every football club has its own way of twisting the term technical director. Sporting director, director of football, head of football relations, director of football development e.t.c, are some of the different titles used.
WHAT’S THE ROLE OF A TECHNICAL DIRECTOR?
This’ a person in charge of defining technical development programs to prepare a club for football in the future.
He/She prepares a long term vision and develops a technical strategy that will improve the level of football in a club after a defined period (in football it has to be a number of years) however, this seemed to be done in the past.
Football in the modern era has three areas of technical, administration and business that need to be developed so that a club gets ready for football in the future and to be sustainable.
To avoid the technical director from being overworked with administrative and business areas of football, some clubs will employ a head of strategy and planning to help the technical director.
From the above break down, we can tell that a technical director’s role has more than a result that happens on the next match day.
We can also tell that it’s a job that requires planning for the future.
SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS, where is the club now?
A technical director should be able to analyze the football environment of the club.
This process requires extensive research and should be answered with honesty (oooohhh Uganda) even if it means having bitter facts without the need to impress superiors.
It’s important for the technical director to avoid the mistake of assuming he/she knows it all while conducting a situational analysis because information missed out at this stage will lead to mistakes.
Clubs in the Uganda Premier League (UPL) had a U-19 team playing in the FUFA Juniors’ League (FJL).
What’s the link between the U19 team and the senior team?
Are the players ready to compete in UPL?
A technical director answering those two questions might find the need to set up a B team that plays in the lowest competitive league to enable U-19 players to continue their development.
STRATEGY, where does the club want to be?
A strategy is a process of determining goals and developing plans to achieve them.
A technical director should be able to develop a long term (minimum of 4 years) strategy based on what was discovered during the situational analysis stage.
A GENUINE U-19 footballer in Uganda isn’t ready to compete in UPL for the 2019-20 season but the club would like to change that situation.
A technical director would then strategize how to set up grassroots (U-12), U-15, U-17, U-20 then U-23 to serve as the B team so that players can have a clear development pathway for the players to be ready in future.
IMPLEMENTATION, how does the club get there?
This’ the most difficult and long-lasting stage for a technical director and the club because it has a lot of changes and challenges that can hardly be foreseen with accuracy.
Basing on the example of setting up grassroots football at the club would be met with the following challenges; Grassroots football has to be broken down into different age categories because children aged 6-12 have different physical and mental features that affect how they learn.
The technical director would then come up with gender-mixed categories of U-8, U-10, and U-12.
They need to be trained three times a week by highly qualified coaches that have pedagogy abilities for handling children.
The recommended ratio of coaches: players is 1:5.
In that paragraph, you can already see the problems faced by a club in Uganda.
One of them is that during school time, it’s almost impossible to have players available, however, this requires a technical director with very good problem-solving skills, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude to avoid blaming or being comfortable with excuses (oooohhh Uganda).
MONITORING AND EVALUATION, Is the club getting there?
In this phase, a technical director ensures the progress of the club is known and measured against the set goals at all times.
Monitoring ensures the quality levels of activities organized respects the defined standard and that relevant feedback is received.
This helps to plan for the next cycle because feedback will show what went wrong and/or right.
Basing on the example of the club setting up grassroots football.
A technical director will set up a football learning syllabus for U-12 players so that at each stage (U-8, U-10, and U-12), players should be able to execute the fundamental skills required to compete in UPL or Women’s Elite League.
Every time the grassroots have a friendly, feedback will be based on the set goals.
It’s important to understand that in grassroots football, the number one aim is for players to have fun and enjoy returning to the training ground so that they can develop a genuine passion for football.
Winning matches or competing should never be used as the goal at that stage (oooohhh Uganda) all players should be treated as individuals.
Those four stages are a tiny fraction of what a technical director does. He/She should have a high level of education, a high level of coaching education and should have played football at any level.
Disclaimer: The writer has nothing against technical directors in Ugandan football.