OFC’s Football Development department is operating a range of training courses while the coronavirus pandemic continues to bite.

A move to alert level 3 in Auckland, New Zealand has forced OFC staff to work from home for the past fortnight, while border restrictions remain in place throughout the Pacific, limiting international travel.

The organisation has had to adapt during the past six months with the use of technology to conduct online education opportunities.

OFC Player Development Officer Phill Parker has finished a six-week Grassroots Football Activation workshop series with the Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands Football Associations.

In the coming weeks, Parker will continue his work in this space with Vanuatu, Samoa and Papua New Guinea.

OFC Goalkeeping Development Consultant James Bannatyne is meeting weekly with his Development Officers across our Member Associations with an eye to creating more goalkeeping schools.

Women’s Football Development Officer Emma Evans recently completed the third week of training for her capacity building programme and is developing the framework for a new long-term strategy for the women’s game.

With New Zealand set to co-host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023, the women’s game is a key focus for OFC in the coming years.

On the futsal court, Juliano Schmeling has completed the OFC Futsal C Licence course with coaches in Fiji while the courses are ongoing for coaches in New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

The refereeing team isn’t sitting idle either and in the next two months, 28 courses will be held in eight Member Associations across the Pacific.

There will be monthly courses for Member Association Referee Instructors, while weekly online tests on the Laws of the Game will continue.

OFC’s Head of Refereeing Kevin Stoltenkamp will also conduct monthly meetings with Referee Development Officers and there will be a debrief for the Futuro course that was held recently.

Owain Prosser, OFC’s Head of Education and High Performance, held Part 3 of the OFC/NZF B Licence coaching course last week.

This marked the third phase of a course that began in February in Auckland and experienced delays due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Twenty-one coaches took part, including former Football Fern Katie Duncan, and featured guest speakers such as sports psychologist Dom Vettise, New Zealand Football Talent Pathway Manager Martin Bullock and recently appointed FIFA Technical Consultant Tony Readings.

OFC’s Acting Head of Football Development Paul Toohey said it was great to see the team making the most of challenging circumstances this year.

“We remain committed to delivering education opportunities to our Member Associations despite the coronavirus pandemic,” Toohey said.

“We are looking forward to the return of OFC tournaments in the future and we will have a great network of capable coaches, coach educators and referees ready to help with the development of football in the Pacific.”