The Cooperation and Development Agreement is set to accelerate the development of young players through the establishment and improvement of youth academies in OFC member associations, based on the successful APFA model, and already two countries are set to reap the benefits in 2013.
OFC technical director Patrick Jacquemet last week accompanied APFA director of football Giovani Fernandes on his first visit to Vanuatu to allow the Brazilian to assess the structure and organisation of the Vanuatu Football Federation’s Teouma Academy.
Along with Fernandes, Jacquemet conducted a three-day workshop with VFF technical staff and president Lambert Maltock in attendance.
He says the idea is to assess the current procedures and reorganise them to create a professional academy in which all the elements which are essential for success can combine for the development of youth.
“Firstly we are looking at the level of education – because schooling is very important – then the level of football training, but also everything surrounding the origin of life such as respect, valour and so on,” Jacquemet says.
He says the workshop was just the first step in a process that will take several weeks to put in place at which time they believe the academy will be operating at the level they would like it to continue at.
“It was three very effective days where we could discuss and organise what will make this academy successful in the long term.
“Even if it is already up-and-running, in a few weeks we will be able to say that it is a really well-organised operation. We want to take our time to get the academy running perfectly and professionally for when the new group of elite youth arrive next year, in January 2014.”
During their visit the pair was also able to observe a trial for young footballers keen to enter into the VFF Centre of Excellence programme.
“We were quite surprised by this event,” Jacquemet says.
“They managed to get, with just an announcement on the radio and television, between 150 and 170 children.”
He says from the talent on display during the morning’s trial, it is obvious the work OFC has done on the player pathway and the development of young players from Just Play right up to the youth academy is paying off.
“In terms of the programme and activities in place throughout the entire country, there will be 13 Centres of Development for the 10 to 12-year-olds, nine Centres of Excellence for young boys and one for young girls at Port Vila and finally Teouma Academy for the 16 to 17-year olds. We will have close to 650-700 youths involved and around 49 coaches.”
The coaches involved in the player pathway are all Vanuatu locals and are from a pool of educators who have followed the OFC coaching programme and are therefore accredited with either a D or C Licence.
“We can say that in Vanuatu there is a player pathway in place but there is also a pathway for coaches to become accredited,” Jacquemet says.
Between 2010 and 2012 close to 150 coaches have earned their D Licence Part 1 and/or Part 2, while 24 have gone on to become accredited C Licence coaches.
Two of these coaches, acting technical director and head coach of the academy and national U-17 team Etienne Mermer and U-20 coach and Centre of Excellence manager Moise Poida, are currently completing the process to obtain their OFC B Licence.