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Solomon goalkeeper course a success

Held at the Solomon Islands Football Federation’s academy centre, the course was attended by 25 participants from across the country between 4 and 8 April.
Led by FIFA Goalkeeping Instructor James Bannatyne the course had a dual aim of identifying potential talent and improving the standard of coaching.
“If you have a good goalkeeper without a good goalkeeping coach they will struggle to develop,” Bannatyne says.
“Equally coaches need the talent to work with.”
In order to achieve these goals, the programme covered both practical and theoretical sessions designed to help the development of goalkeepers from different age groups.
The course also provided the participants with the tools and techniques needed to identify and coach goalkeepers.
Bannatyne says talent identification is at the core of football development and after conducting several sessions with kids from local schools, he is convinced the Solomon Islands have plenty of raw talent.
“They are still a long way away but looked to have the potential to follow in the footsteps of current Solomon Islands goalkeeper Philip Mango.”
Bannatyne says the attendance of a national team custodian was one of the highlights of the course.
“Philip was also part of one of the first courses I ran for OFC in 2012. He was 17 years old then and he is now 21.
“I was very impressed with his progress and with his enthusiasm to pass on his knowledge and experience.
Bannatyne, a former national team player himself, says Mango produced a number of sessions for schoolkids making a significant and positive impression on them.
“I think that was a positive experience for both the kids, who had no previous goalkeeping experience, and Philip himself.
“He is clearly motivated by his own personal development and he proved his potential as a player and a future mentor.”
Bannatyne is buoyed by the overall success of the course but he says there is plenty of work ahead.
“We need long-term development plans to establish quality, specialist programmes for goalkeepers in the Solomon Islands,” he says.
“Once we have these programmes in place we can invite the best talent and work with them.”
According to Bannatyne, significant progress has been made in terms of technical development across the region but some of the Pacific nations, including the Solomon Islands, still face a number of challenges.
“A lot of work goes into the improving the football structure and there are positive signs with all the new competitions in Oceania.
“However, there is a need for more consistency and quality,” he says.
“Goalkeepers also need more game time because there is nothing like match experience, while coaches must learn how to put on sessions to replicate match-like situations.”

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