THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Scott O'Donell: A coach is like a chef in the kitchen

AFC A-Certificate Course

AFC A-Certificate Course

Even as the first AFC A-Certificate Course is underway in Barasat in West Bengal, the All India Football Federation in an effort to produce more qualified and better Coaches has invited applications for the second AFC A-Certificate Course of the Year. The Course is scheduled to be held in Goa from May 1-17, 2014.

More stay in the pipeline. Scott O’Donell, Director Coach Education, All India Football Federation informs that “another AFC A-Certificate Course is being planned later this year as well.”

“We are planning another AFC A-Certificate Course later in the year as well. It is important for our Coaches to gain the highest qualifications possible, not just for their own benefit but also to satisfy AFC Club Licensing criteria,” he informs AIFF Media.

But at the same time, he sounds a cautious note. “It is important that our Coaches who are applying to attend these AFC A-Certificate Courses come well prepared. They should not only be physically able to participate and contribute throughout the Course but should also be well versed with ‘Lakshya’ and what we are trying to do to develop Indian Football,” he adds.

The last date for applying for Goa’s AFC A-Certificate Course is March 28, 2014 and the response so far has been positive.

The application procedure has been opened online at as AIFF is receiving applications from across India. Candidates eligible to apply for the Course would be required to possess the following:

1. AFC B-Certificate Course
2. 1 year work experience as AFC B-Certificate Coach

Candidates have to apply online with necessary supporting documents.

Since 2012, the ongoing AFC A-Certificate Course is the third such Course being conducted by AIFF with the one in Goa scheduled to be the fourth.

In the last 27 months (including March 2014), All India Football Federation has conducted 47 Coaching Courses all over the country. Besides the AFC A-Certificate Courses, the list also includes the first-ever AFC Pro-Diploma Course in India (being conducted by Wim Koevermans); 23 AFC D-Certificate Courses, 16 AFC-C Certificate Courses, 2 AFC B-Certificate Courses, one ongoing AFC Instructor Course and one D-Certificate Instructor Course.

In addition, there have been four more Coaching initiatives — one Coaching Seminar Refresher Course, two Selection Workshops and the AIFF organised Conditioning Course conducted by Raymond Verheijen.

Summing it up, there have been 51 Coaching Programmes since January 2012.

O’Donell, also the Technical Director of AIFF Academies stresses that “upgrading the qualifications of Coaches is a priority for AIFF.”

“Upgrading the qualifications of our Coaches is a priority for AIFF if we hope to improve the development of Football in India. We cannot do it without modern Coaches – Coaches who are up to date with modern methodologies and tactics,” he states.

“We need Coaches who can read and understand the modern game and to do that they must become students of the game. So when they were watching Real Madrid vs Barcelona the other night, they should have been watching it from a Coach’s perspective and not a fans perspective,” he opines.

“It is important that our Coaches broaden their horizons and don’t limit themselves to watching just the EPL or the Airtel I-League. They should be watching the Asian Champions League, the Bundesliga, the J-League, etc, to be aware of the different styles of play.”

The second module of the first-ever Pro-Diploma Course will be held in Japan from May 4 to May 19, 2014.

“Coaches have to be open to new ideas and be willing to learn,” O’Donell clarifies. “They must be like sponges at these Courses, absorb as much information as possible and then use the information they have taken from the Course to help formulate their own philosophy of how the game should be played.”

“I use the analogy of a Chef in a Kitchen. He/she has all of the ingredients and it is up to the Chef what he/she cooks and how they cook. Likewise, it is the same with Coaches. We give them the information, the Players, Balls, equipment, etc and it is then up to the Coach to see how the Team trains and plays.”

(Report & Picture courtesy AIFF Media)