Raul Chipenda: Taking coaches to the next level

Raul Chipenda, CAF Director of Development explains to CAFOnline.com the reasons behind adopting a new CAF Coach Licensing System. He explains why the teams’ technical staff compliance will help the African football development.

Raul Chipenda

How do we introduce this new Coach licensing system?

In 2006, CAF decided to set up an accelerated training system for coaches who had been active for many years, already won national or international competitions, had a leading career, and participated in continental or world tournaments. CAF called these courses equivalence courses. Initially, the project was aimed at the time interval 2006 - 2009. Eventually the period was extended until 2012, and then until 2014, and the truth is that in 2017 these types of courses were still being held.

All this to say that the more experienced coaches had already been granted a longer than necessary period to regularize their situation. However, for players who have reached an exceptional level nationally and internationally, there is an article in the Convention which provides an accelerated procedure. This allows these high-level players or football legends to benefit from accelerated continuing education. It should be noted that, even for these special cases, each of the training stages and the course hours are respected. In addition, it is those who demonstrate good coaching qualities and have successful evaluation grades who can see their training process speed up to obtain the CAF A ​​License and CAF Pro license, then they are considered like all other coaches.

Molefi Ntseki, coach of South Africa during the 2021 Afcon Qualifier match between Sao Tome and South Africa at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth on the 16 November 2020 ©Muzi Ntombela:BackpagePix

Will these measures, listed in the new regulations, be a way of favoring local coaches?

It is good to start by explaining CAF vision, which is primarily focused on the coaches’ quality. CAF suspended the organization of coaching courses in Africa in July 2017, due to certain irregularities observed with certain courses. At that time, we started working on the first CAF Coaches Convention. This was completed in December 2018 and it was a work which involved CAF Technical and Development Committee, its group of technical experts and the CAF administration. Since then, the convention draft was shared with technical directors of various federations, so that they are ready to implement the measures enacted in said document.

In March 2019, coaching courses resumed, but only within the framework of the CAF D and CAF C diplomas, since the rest would only be accessible to Member Associations once the process of signing the CAF License has been completed. In September 2019, the application process for the CAF Coaches License, which contains 8 criteria, was sent to all federations. More specifically, it was about specifying the documents to be sent to CAF to continue the process. This is arguably the most important step ever taken to standardize and improve the quality of training courses in Africa. But we could not stop there. We had to motivate the different Member Associations to invest in the continuous training of their coaches, hence came the decision of the Technical and Development Committee to require coaches taking part in Interclub Competitions to have a CAF A License. Otherwise, we would have continued in the situation we were in.

To answer your question, 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.

Helman Mkhalele coach of South Africa during the 2020 COSAFA U20 Youth Championship match between South Africa and Mozambique on the 08 December 2020 at Isaac Wolfson Stadium, Port Elizabeth: Pic Sydney Mahlangu:BackpagePix-

Why is compliance with these rules essential?

The answer is simple: Club Licensing normally functions as the engine for football development, whether at federation or Confederation level. Why? Well, because it is through this mechanism that we could set up criteria for participation in competitions, and which will have a great impact on football development in countries or in the continent. Today we are talking about the coaches’ level to encourage the development of coach education across the continent. This will lead Member Associations to implement the same criteria in their countries, and so we can take coaches to the next level. But it does not stop here. From tomorrow we can make it compulsory for each club to have a women's football team, to have at least two U-15 and U-17 youth teams in both sexes, etc.

With these criteria, we will force clubs to invest in women's and youth football So, I think if we all want to see our football quality reach other levels, we must raise the requirements’ bar to motivate change. Change always brings some resistance, but with everyone’s help we can achieve what we all aspire to, which is to develop football in Africa.