Where do local football coaches stand in terms of qualification?

Saturday September 18 2021
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Caught cold. Timbe (right) and his assistant Simeone Masaba in the St Mary’s Stadium VIP area after they were both barred from accessing the technical area last week. Photo | Eddie Chicco

By Fred Mwambu

Express and URA incursion of the continental football this season was left with identical egg-in-the face scenarion. The Red Eagles beat El Merrikh from Sudan 2-1 as the Tax Collectors registered a similar result over Ethiopia’s Coffee in the first legs of the Caf Champions League and Confederation Cup football, respectively.

However, the build-up to both fixtures was dominated by news that both Express head coach Wasswa Bbosa and URA’s caretaker Simeon Masaba were ineligible to sit on the benches after Caf, the African football governing body, found their qualifications wanting.

Four months ago, Caf reminded clubs through federations of the mandatory qualifications for coaches that were put in place about three years ago. 

“In terms of the coaching requirements for the Caf interclub competitions 2021/22 season, the following coaching requirements are set as mandatory: Caf ‘A’ or valid sister confederations ‘PRO’ coaching licence is mandatory for the head coach; Caf B coaching licence is mandatory for an assistant coach.” 

Caf stressed that the requirements are compulsory. “The coaches who do not fulfill this requirement will not be allowed in the benches during matches.” 
But just like most around the continent, the local coaches affected in a way feel hard-done by Caf, considering the fact that the coaching courses have been in the ice for over three years now.

“The problem is not ours as the coaches, it’s the federation’s (Fufa),” Bbosa was quoted by SportsNation as saying.“We’ve spent four years without undergoing coaching courses in Uganda. If we were still on the course, I would have acquired Caf A licence or even on the pro licence.”
 
Restructuring
In July 2017, the then-new Caf administration led by Ahmad Ahmad suspended the organisation of coaching courses due to some irregularities that were detected in its process. 

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Among the descrepancies was that some federations used instructors who favoured or assisted their countrymates to pass, especially in Caf C, low quality content in the syllabus studied and in other countries, coaches were getting the licence without attending classes.

Caf’s technical and development committee then started working on a system code-named the “Caf Coaches Convention,” which was finalised in December 2018. The convention was drafted with the help and partnership of Uefa experts and meant to conform to international principles of coaches education. 

Caf courses did not receive decent recognition in other Confederations.
Under the new system, all federations were required to derive their own customised manual for Caf Certified Coaching Courses from the Caf template.

“It is about raising the level of local coaches to ensure quality training for African clubs. This measure should favour the choice of qualified coaches to assume responsibilities. The new Caf standard is inspired by best practices and world standards which constitute an essential vector for the evolution and development of African football,” Caf’s Director of Developmen Raul Chipenda said.

The body stopped 21 coaches, including some from Europe and South America from sitting on the bench in Caf’s interclub competitions last year. Vipers’ new coach Roberto Oliviera, then with Kenya’s Gor Mahia, was a victim too.

Same old problem
To circumvent the rule and ‘fill the gap’, Express rushed to register Simon Peter Kirumira while URA clutched on Sam Timbe, both Caf A licence holders. The two barely issued any meaningful instructions as Kirumira remained glued to his seat as James Odoch worked out Bbosa’s plan while Timbe was issuing commands from the VIP stands.

However, this has happened before. In 2016, both Vipers (Champions League) and SC Villa (Confederations Cup) were forced to hire Frank Anyau and George Nsiimbe, respectively, in place of Ibrahim Kirya and Edward Golola who lacked the minimum Caf B required at the time. 

The grading and certification
According to Fufa’s club licensing regulations, a head coach of a UPL or a Big League club must have a minimum of Caf B diploma and hold a valid professional coaching licence issued by the federation’s licensing committee every season after registering with the Uganda Football Coaches Association. 

An assistant is also required to possess a minimum of Caf B, the goalkeeper’s coach should have Fufa Goalkeeper Coach Certificate and the fitness trainer a Fufa Fitness Trainer Certificate. 
This is a mandatory requirement for a club to receive a temporary or seasonal licence to play in the topflight. But how does one attain this level in Uganda?

“We’ve five levels of coaching certification in the country: for those starting out, there’s a beginner’s coaching course which is introductory. One is required to study [for a minimum of] 30 contact hours and then examined,” explained Fufa’s education officer Jackson Nyiima.
“You’re then required to actively practice for at least a year before attempting the next level.

“The second level is the Caf D, which is a national licence. The contact hours are increased to 60. Just like the Beginners’ Course, you’re required to practice for at least one year before going for Caf C. This one is now administered and examined by Caf. The coaches go through 120 hours – 48 for theory and 72 practical – of learning followed by examination and 15 hours of practical field attachment.

“Caf B has 150 hours, an exam and practical attachment but to go to the next level, you have to practice for two years before going for Caf A, where the contact hours are doubled,” Nyiima explained.
Caf is set to introduce another elite diploma, the Caf Pro but is yet to finalise.

Players who have featured for three uninterrupted years at the national team level are exempted from the first two levels and can enroll directly to Caf C.
Ideally, it takes a minimum of six years for a coaching newbie to attain a Caf A.

What they said...

Livingstone Kyambadde, coach
Caf is doing all this to improve the coaching standards on the continent. We are soon resuming the courses so the current situation is just a matter of time. We are trying to write the curriculum and then send back to them, they look at it and then allow us to continue with the programmes. The situation (Bbosa is in) is just temporary but at the end of the day, football will benefit from qualified coaches.

Mbabazi is chairman Uganda Football Coaches Association and Caf A license holder and coaching instructor


Raul Chipenda, Caf’s Director of Development
I think that by focusing on the quality of our coaches, there will be more opportunities, so that when it comes to choosing a coach, the federations and clubs will give more opportunities ‘to those who are at home’. The rules and procedures of the Caf Coaching License are a part of the worldwide procedure for the mutual recognition of coaching diplomas between Confederations. Therefore, these rules and procedures must be in accordance with international principles of coach education.

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