The Liberia Football Association is embarking on a youth domestic league for U14-Boys and U-15 Girls as a pilot project in Montserrado County towards implementing part of its overall football development plan.
As part of FIFA’s assistance towards this endeavor, 40 coaches of male and female teams yesterday began a five-day (September 25-29) youth coaching course at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in preparation of the commencement of the league in October.
The seminar is being conducted by coach, technical director and a member of FIFA’s Panel of Instructors, Jan Poulsen from Denmark; supported by CAF Education Officer Francis Tamba; LFA Technical Director Henry Brown; and LFA Deputy Technical Director Kaetu Smith. The three men are CAF Coaching Instructors.
The participating coaches, drawn from several communities in Montserrado County, were screened and selected by the LFA subcommittee structures within the communities. The coaches met criteria set by the LFA Technical Department, which included: being a high school graduate; head coaches for girls’ team; deputy coaches for girls’ team, who must be a female; live within the zone; have good moral character in their community; and have experiences dealing with youth.
At the opening yesterday, Mr. Poulsen said it takes ten years for a player to reach his/her full potential and told the gathering of enthusiastic young coaches to remember their task, which is to find and select players with the right gene that through hard work and quality training could be developed for the National Team.
“You must be satisfied if you can produce one to three National Team Players from your various groups,” Poulsen said, “you must live by example to instill in your players good attitude so that the players you’re bringing up would see you as a good leader.”
Drawing lessons from a FIFA manual for the course, titled Youth Football, a copy of which was presented to every coach at the seminar, Mr. Poulsen told them to love what they have chosen to do because they are being provided with the means to be equipped to handle young players.
“From the course you can present, explain, organize, demonstrate, correct, animate, execute and evaluate with the objective to transmit, teach and coach the fundamentals of soccer,” he said.
He spoke on technique, which included its aspects; its development; how to improve on it; its basic and intermediate training. The course is an interactive medium and he encouraged the coaches to ask a lot of questions to get clarity on the methodology of the training.
Poulsen, at one point, wanted to know whether talent is better than hard work or vice versa. After several coaches shared their views, they agreed that a combination of both can make a good player.
Meanwhile, Madam Ciata Bishop, chairperson of the Liberia Football Association on Women Football, told the gathering to accept the challenge because the future of Liberian football depends on what they can absolve and pass on to the younger generation.
“Don’t be late for your training if you don’t want your players to be late,” Madam Bishop told them, “and you must be humble because there is much to gain in humility; as Mr. Poulsen said, you must love what you’re doing for the young players.”
Among topics for the duration of the seminar are current trends in youth football; player in training; the instructor; technique; strategic approach; physical preparation of young players; and the mental and educational aspects of basic training. The seminar includes both theory and field practice.
Other subjects are training games; the goalkeeper; planning; youth competitions; and football academies.
Participants include Thomas Neewalay; Massa Mangoue; Naoki Peters; Toe Kollie; Mohammed Talawally; Archie Klon Jr.; Daniel Kollie; Naoki Flomo; Julius Smith; Mugge Gayflor; Adolphus Moseh; and Blamo Wolo.
Others are Florence Monboe; Patrick Kamano; Benson Karyee; Kebbeh Lamin; Edwin Larblah; Mukagbeh Kanneh; Nathaniel Sherman; A. Tugbeh; Aaron Gbakah; Daniel Cole; Emmanuel George; Ignatius Jallah; Nelly Gray; Charles Toe; and Aretha Brown.