AFEX 2014 – For progressive football minds

The Annual African Football Executive Confex that took place last week at FNB Stadium have offered valuable new ideas and useful information on sponsorship, business, marketing, media strategies, technical issues and football admin.

Definitely it was designed for progressive football minds and for the success achieved, Edward Abankwa, the Director of AFEX 2014 should be congratulated. It was expected that at least SA print media would provide coverage of this important event especially considering that the lack of diversified content is relegating football stories in newspapers and magazines to the bottom of media market.

No such coverage was provided. Regarding the presentations on technical issues the following conclusions are of major significance:

1. No youth development program can succeed in fulfilling talent if is not based on a specific football philosophy. The natural attributes – THE STRENGTHS – of young players must be reflected in the process of their development for maximum performance. (Conclusion supported by Ashley Kotzin, CEO, FORWARDZONE and other experts).

Strangely, Dr. Robin Petersen, CEO of SAFA’s Development Agency and acting technical director Fran Hilton-Smith were not present when this critical aspect was discussed! The sad reality is that SA youth coaches are working without direction and the effects of this confusion will, for sure, harm the much needed production of high quality players. The question asked by many is, who is responsible for this predicament?

2. It is imperative that SA coaches are equipped with indigenously produced, relevant training solutions. The irrational acceptance to train and coach the unique SA talent with methods used in England, Germany, Holland, Portugal, etc… must stop.

The so-called SA football experts who are clueless about the true nature of African players have managed to misguide SAFA president Danny Jordaan and his Executive in allowing the multi-national coaching chaos to distort the valuable potential of local players. Vast resources and sponsorship are wasted on this fictitious policy. Who is accountable for it?

3. The investment should be directed towards providing high standards of coach education – quality before quantity – and the retribution of youth coaches (Ashley Kotzin’s presentation).

4. The remarkable contribution made by Shakes Mashaba in regard to Maximal Training cannot be omitted. His request that MT should be urgently applied to ‘reduce the quality and performance gap between SA football and more advanced nations’ was very well received while indicating the unanimous appreciation for the methodology and its advanced features.

5. More interest on this important event should have been shown by all SAFA departments, PSL and the media. The culture of learning in SA football is key for the future.

By Ted Dumitru