One of the important if not the most important area of a football club is the technical department.
It is the engine room which steers the playing body for good results to be marketed by other administrative section to complete the entire structure and the smooth running of a club.
Good results on the field are usually credited to the football club or the team as a whole but the first point of call after bad outcomes is the technical department before any other office.
It is for this reason that coaches must be apt with their tactics in order to produce the needed results or be shipped out if they fail.
Moreover, for players at every level to properly develop to a higher standard, it boils down to good technical direction of which without, quality of football declines and the far reaching effect suffered by the various national teams notwithstanding the avalanche of talents.
We want to discuss three key pointers which have helped Europe transform their football with the speed of sound in the last decade.
We shall start with one and continue the other two in our subsequent editions of how Ghana must get back to the basics to regain its lost glory.
“Coach education”, “Scouting”, “Football Identity” are the driving forces of football development coupled with rigorous planning and implementation of ideas have done magic for some European football super powers.
Starting with the technical department, one country which has changed the rhythm of coach education is four time World Cup winners, Germany.
Their notorious Hennes Weisweiler coaching academy churns out not just qualified and quality coaches but persons much younger into Europe football market
“In Germany, coaches must obtain a Football Coaching Licence – the equivalent of a UEFA Pro Licence – in order to work in the country’s three professional divisions: Bundesliga, Bundesliga 2 and 3. Liga.
Officially it is known as the Fußball-Lehrer (“Football Teacher”) qualification, and the only place you can get your hands on one is at the prestigious Hennes-Weisweiler Academy in Cologne.
Founded in 1947 and named after legendary Gladbach and Cologne coach, Weisweiler (who was in charge between 1956-1970), the Academy is highly competitive.
Once a year, just 24 or 25 persons are selected for the course after passing a high and demanding aptitude test. To even get a chance to earn that golden ticket, they must already hold a DFB A Licence, have a year of training under their belts, and belong to a DFB club.”
That “coach education” system has set a standard across Europe with Germany boasting of a pool of technical brains to select for clubs or the national teams.The work of the famous coaching academy is clear across board with Domenico Tedesco at RB Leipzig, Alexander Nouri with Kavala(Greece), Marco Rose (Dortmund), Manuel Baume formerly of Schalke, Hannes Wolf then at Stuttgart and later a caretaker at Bayer Leverkusen, Sandro Schwarz of Dynamo Moscow in Russia, Julian Nagelsmann of Bayern Münich, Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool), Thomas Tuchel-Chelsea and Hansi Flick formerly of Bayern Munich and now the German national team and “father” of German coaches, Ralf Rangnick at Manchester United.
It will interest us to know that all these coaches tasted Bundesliga experience or had a bite with a German top flight and other clubs in some capacity when they were less than 40-years.
Apart from Jurgen Klopp and Hansi Flick who are now above 50-years, the rest are in their mid or late 40s with Bayern Munich coach, Julian Nagelsmann just at 34-years, smacking of a country with a long term plan for coaching.
It is not surprising that the last three editions of the UEFA Champions League trophies have been won by German coaches; Jurgen Klopp with Liverpool in 2019, Hansi Flick with Bayern Munich in 2020 and Thomas Tuchel with Chelsea for the last edition.
Hansi Flick succeeded Joachim Löwe at the German national team and it will not be surprising that 34-year-old Julian Nagelsmann is being groomed for the future should all other top club coaches not show interest in handling it.
The hi-tech and quality education has pushed Germany just a World Cup trophy shy of five time and record holders, Brazil.
This German example is something laudable every country can ruminate on and Africa-foot.com’s Adamu Muftawu is particularly enthused about how some active and retired Ghanaian footballers have now decided to take the advantage to grab a certificate with the Ghana FA’s nationwide License D Coaching Course.
To see Aduana Stars and Hearts of Oak forwards, Yahaya Mohammed and Gladson Awako among other active stars jump at the chance to upgrade themselves even before they retire from the game, tells the fact that, the FA’s Technical Directorate led by German, Bernhardt Lippert and Professor Joseph Mintah is either doing something right or Ghanaian footballers are now awake to the fact that, times have changed and they need to step up and grab opportunities.
Ex-Hearts of Oak stars, goalkeeper Sammy Adjei and midfielder, Charles Allotey and 40 others have all taken the available chance at the Ghanaman Soccer Centre of coaching Excellence to better their lots which initially was not the case.
One Ghanaian club whose ex-stars have made a mark for themselves is record League holders, Asante Kotoko.
Most of their ex-players have upgraded and taken up Club and national team opportunities much to the envy of the ex-stars of their rivals, Hearts of Oak.
Asante Kotoko have three ex players in the top flight with 2021 CAF U-20 winning coach, Karim Zito directing affairs at Dreams FC, former midfielder, Michael Osei is head coach at Gold Stars and Maxwell Konadu handling Legon Cities FC.
All three coaches have once had a chance at Kotoko coupled with Godwin Ablorddey, Akakpo Patron, the 1971 African Footballer of the year, Ibrahim Sunday, Malik Jabir, former Black Stars coach, Kwesi Appiah, just to mention a few.
Yes, the Ghana FA might have their shortfalls but if what they have started with “coach education” is properly done, Ghanaian clubs from the top flight down to the lower tier in the next five to 10 years will not have to struggle with who to employ.
Moreover, talent development and the right technical direction from the grassroot will now be properly dealt with if these prospective candidates are equipped with the requisite “coaching education.”
The work of the FA’s technical directorate should not put out just “theoretical” coaches out there but a generation of “highly practical”, “mentally tough”, “decision oriented”, “tactically brainy”, “emotionally intelligent”, “managerially smart” persons to ensure the talents that will be built from the grassroots do not just pass through a system but become complete footballers.
In the world of Information Communication Technology, they say “garbage in, garbage out” and the FA’s technical department must strive not to put “garbage” into the system.
Already Ghana can boast of young coaches like Charles Akonnor, Yaw Preko, Prosper Narteh Ogum, Samuel Boadu, Hamza Obeng, Umar Rabi, Bismark Kobby Mensah, Felix Aboagye, Shaibu Tanko just to mention a few but it is a matter of revising the “coaching education” structure and with the right opportunities to bring the best out of them.
*This is Africa-foot.com’s series towards pinpointing some areas that will help the rise of Ghana football.
*Next edition will be on “Scouting” followed by “Football Identity.”