Hands up if you are tired and fed up with recycled football coaches using the same ideas at the top level in Ugandan football! That’s very many hands out there, one hand up is enough.
In September 2014, I attended a CAF C coaching class with 71 other aspiring coaches. In January 2017 we upgraded to CAF B, the number of students dropped to about 50.
As I prepare for CAF A that might be at the end of 2019, there’s a very high possibility we could be less than 30 students. With CAF PRO coaching course coming up in 2021, imagine how empty the class will be.
It’s possible that by nature, numbers reduce as you progress higher due to many reasons. In this case, it’s the lack of football coaching jobs in Uganda. Well, not jobs but the lack of football coaching opportunities.
Jobs are scarce everywhere, but not in Ugandan football because there are very many tournaments that offer football coaching opportunities.
Take a deep breath as you read through this list of tournaments; Uganda Premier League (UPL), Big League, The Drum football tournament, University Football League, Beach Soccer, Futsal League, Masaza Cup, Copa Coca-cola, Bika football tournament, Women’s Elite League and regional leagues.
Coach X is a head coach in different teams competing in almost every football tournament in Uganda including the corporate league. This means that coach X occupies positions that would have been held by almost 10 other coaches.
Coach X occupying all those positions, means that his idea of coaching football is used in different tournaments that limit Ugandan football from the opportunity to see fresh ideas of other football coaches.
Coach X is one of many coaches occupying more than one football coaching position which further reduces the number of opportunities available for upcoming coaches.
Whenever there’s a vacant coaching position in UPL, it’s very easy to guess which coach will take up that position. It’s so easy to an extent that media no longer need to attend a press conference, all they do is to guess which ends up being correct.
In the worst case, by the end of the 2018-19 UPL season, Onduparaka fc and Paidha Black Angels didn’t bother naming replacements after their coaches left because they were waiting for the recycled coaches to be available.
As 2019-20 pre-season gets underway, Mbarara City FC is still hunting for a coach but there’s almost no choice of a coach because all the recycled coaches have either been taken up or booked.
Maroons FC, Kyetume FC, and Wakiso Giants FC have all named new coaches that have been recycled from over the years.
Indeed, the tried and tested coaches will always get the best jobs but in Uganda’s case, only a selected few are tried and tested because they occupy almost every football coaching position.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO COACH MANY TEAMS?
In June 2019, I conducted coaching sessions for my football students. The process of planning and designing a 90-minute training session was very demanding, it required a whole month of planning yet there were only three training sessions per week in that month. The evaluation process was equally demanding though in a good way.
It’s almost impossible to excel as a professional if you can’t commit time and effort to one thing at a time. Any football coach that handles more than one team is the definition of amateur and mediocrity.
If Ugandan football needs to progress from amateur status to professional, then regulations on football coaches need to be revised.
WHAT SHOULD FUFA DO?
Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) has done very well to make regulations that make it easy for qualified coaches to get jobs and practice what they have learned. UPL and Big League clubs are required to have coaches of certain qualifications.
FUFA should revise regulations to limit the number of teams and tournaments a coach can be allowed to gain employment. More regulations should be set in place to protect Women’s football and female coaches.
Revised regulations should include; A head coach in any team should not be allowed to hold another football coaching job, any coach working in the top two divisions should not be allowed to hold another coaching position, coaches should be limited to working with one team per season.
Coaches in developing football disciplines like Futsal and Beach soccer should not be allowed to hold more than two coaching positions.
Development tournaments like Masaza cup, Copa coca-cola, Bika football tournament, The Drum football tournament and University football league should only be handled by football coaches that have never been employed in the top two divisions.
The best way to enforce such regulations is to ensure that every football tournament registers the coaches handling teams competing in that tournament then submit to FUFA for supervision.
With those regulations in place, it will be possible to see more football coaching ideas that will eventually get to the top tier league. The more ideas available, the higher the chances of getting a better idea.
Ugandan football needs a high number of qualified coaches, with revised regulations to create jobs and opportunities, it’s very possible to greatly reduce the rate of football coaching student dropouts.
Disclaimer: The writer doesn’t have anything against Coach X.