– Coaches’ welfare, professional status high on his agenda
Ex-Mighty Barrolle goal hunter Benjamin Seedee, popularly known as Roberto, believes that the status of Liberian soccer is poor because of the poor welfare of coaches.
The problem, he told the Daily Observer in an interview recently, needs to change, and that can only happen when the leadership of the Liberia Coaches Association (LCA) can muster the vision to turn the situation around.
Accordingly, he said he has decided to run for the forthcoming leadership elections of the association as president.
Seedee, who coached for many years in South Africa, said while he was in that country, he saw the need to return home to contribute to the development of young footballers to gain entrance into the competitive soccer market.
“Our coaches are poorly paid by administrators and this is because of the inadequate resources or income that they generate from their games,” he said.
Seedee said with his experience in South Africa, the Football Association, in this case, the Liberia Football Association, has the responsibility to introduce measures and to also work with business owners to get a share of their Corporate Social Responsibility revenues.
“This involves negotiations; and when the business owners recognizing what is in it for them, they will work along as partners with the Football Association,” Seedee suggested.
He said he is aware that there a lot of discouragements when it comes to sports stakeholders approaching business owners and ironing out to how to work together, “but it can be done.”
Seedee said soccer coaches are people who devote themselves to the development of the whole athlete and therefore to get the best out of them, club owners will have to agree to a contractual agreement.
“Without coaches,” Seedee said, “there can be no national league.”
He said both the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the world soccer controlling body, FIFA, have rules to develop coaches to ensure that clubs perform better.
“If a coach has a contract that earns him a certain amount of money as it is done elsewhere in the world, the coach will be more comfortable to do his job,” he added.
He said there are some club owners who interfere in the day to day work of coaches, and without them being aware of their actions, frustrate the work of someone who is trained to do the work.
“My administration will come up with strict guidelines for coaches and we will want club owners to work along with us,” he promised.
He said the welfare of coaches cannot be compromised, adding that he would want the Liberia Football Association to work with his administration when the time comes.
“I want all coaches to know that since there cannot be a game without referees, there still cannot be a game without coaches; and therefore, there cannot be a good game if coaches are not provided for and made comfortable in their chosen vocation,” he said.
Information reaching the Daily Observer shows that Liberian soccer coaches are not paid well and they are fired without cause. There are owners who are known to interfere in coaches’ training sessions that leave them unable to protest, and Seedee said he would change that.
A coach is an educator, a trainer, an instructor and confidant of the players they train, and as a result, they demand the cooperation of club owners to get the job done.