When the Uganda Cubs (U-17 men’s national team) qualified to play at the 2019 U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) by lifting the CECAFA U17 trophy in 2018, the team was coached by Peter Onen (a Ugandan).
Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) decided to hunt for a coach and settled for Fabian Kwesi from Ghana.
Fabian Kwesi’s appointment was welcomed by ‘senior’ Ugandan coaches going on social media to complain about his appointment, apparently, they deserved a chance to coach the national team.
FUFA in their defense said they headhunted for a coach with experience of qualifying a team to the FUFA U17 World cup. With the 2019 AFCON U17 tournament being used as the event for world cup qualifiers.
The task ahead was qualifying for semifinals then a slot would be guaranteed to play in Brazil. Story short, Uganda Cubs didn’t qualify under the guidance of Fabian Kwesi who also hired a fellow Ghanaian to be the fitness coach for the Cubs.
WHERE DO COACHES IN UGANDA GET IT WRONG?
Asking for a chance to coach the national team without showcasing what you can do is more like entitlement, I am Ugandan, I deserve the job doesn’t work in football.
The coaches complaining about deserving the job ahead of a foreigner have never had experience handling U17 players. There’s a huge difference between coaching young players in the top flight league and coaching U17 players but don’t tell that to a coach in Uganda, to them football coaching is general.
Ahead of the 2017-18 football season, which includes FUFA Juniors’ League (FJL) FIFA sent a youth football instructor to Uganda.
He conducted a Youth Member Associations coaching course to teach coaches how to handle young players. FUFA requested each UPL club to send two coaches for training, some clubs sent only one coach while others didn’t show up.
I would expect any coach interested in coaching youth players to show up but that’s the mentality of coaches in Uganda. Gaining knowledge or going through the process of unlearning to relearn new trends in football coaching is a problem for coaches in Uganda.
Ignoring that course had a lot to do with that but they expect to coach a U17 National team in 2019.
When Tanzania hosted the 2018 CECAFA U17 tournament, an interested coach should have been in Tanzania to observe what the Uganda cubs went through, they should have acquired footage (should be very easy these days) of all regional qualifiers then present to FUFA how they would pull off world cup qualification.
A busy coach would have hired an analyst to help them do opposition analysis but a coach in Uganda finds investing (paying for knowledge acquisition) in themselves as offensive.
The majority of football coaches in Uganda will walk into a training session without planning ahead.
They plan a training session as it goes on so they expect to plan U17 world cup qualification during qualifiers. Hint: U17 World cup qualification starts at working with U15 players two years prior to the qualification. Good luck expecting someone that can’t plan a day’s training session planning for two years.
Youth football has U-17, U-20 and in some rare cases U-23. It’s a specialized area of coaching in football.
A coach has to earn badges in normal football coaching then get specialized education in youth football to practice as a youth coach.
It’s only in Uganda where we think that being a senior coach automatically guarantees you the ability to coach youth players. Sorry!!!!!!
YOUTH FOOTBALL VS SENIOR FOOTBALL.
Youth football requires working and following a set syllabus for coaching the players to learn while senior football has a lot to do with solving problems in a previous match.
Example: If a U17 team is being coached how to break down a compact defense by effective use of wing play, this lesson might last three months. All matches that happen during that period will have the coach place emphasis on whether players are able to transfer what is being taught into the matches played.
Success will be rated in that particular area. Should the team play a match and have problems with attacking and defending set-pieces then no need to panic because the time for that will show up. In Senior football, every problem is documented and broken down as team problems, group/unit/line problems, and individual problems.
Corrections are usually done in the days after the match. In most cases, clubs will need to sign players because they need to succeed instantly (the pressure too)
Youth football requires using all players by giving all players an equal amount of playing time because it’s the only way they can all be assessed fairly because playing a match is best and perhaps the only way to gain experience.
During the league (FJL) if a club has registered three goalkeepers then a schedule has to be drawn on how all the three goalkeepers will be used during the season.
Senior football requires having the best players on the pitch as much as possible although in the modern era, teams using fringe players for cup matches to keep them active throughout the season.
If coaches in Uganda want to coach the national team(s) they need to invest in acquiring knowledge then build competent coaching teams to work better. For now, Fabian Kwesi is more than welcome.
Disclaimer: The writer is a football coach in Uganda and doesn’t have anything against ‘senior’ coaches.