His coaching career has been a long and challenging journey, but Fiji U-20 assistant coach Sunil Kumar believes he’s just getting started.
“I want to help the age group national team or the senior, whichever is possible, and impart my knowledge on the players in Fiji,” he said.
“In the future I want to coach the age group national team and maybe one day the senior national team,” he added.
Kumar has joined 18 other coaches from across the region in Auckland this week for the OFC B Licence Coaching course, working hard to absorb eight intensive days of theoretical and practical coaching sessions.
“It’s a privilege to be a part of this B Licence,” he said.
“In just a few days I have realised it’s a challenge to be a coach but at the same time, if we keep it simple, it’s easy to identify the problem and correct it to help players improve.”
Kumar started his coaching career at Ba Sangam College in Ba, but after completing his D1 Licence he was unable to find a club team in need of a coach. Instead waiting for an opportunity, Kumar set out to find a way to play his part in football in Fiji.
“I heard that the Fiji U-17 team were coming for trials in Ba, at the academy of football. I wanted to go and be part of the team and help them so I went to the academy,” he said.
“I found Mr. Yogendra Dutt, the coach of the U-17s at the time and told him that I wanted to be a part of the coaching team to learn more and get more experience,” he added.
“Yogendra let me join them as a volunteer coach.”
From there, Kumar was given the opportunity to coach the Ba Youth team, be a part of the West Centre U-16 team, and part of the development centre.
“I sacrificed my time to be part of all those teams but it all paid off when I was chosen to be the assistant coach for Fiji U-20 team and I was part of the recent OFC U-20 Championship in Vanuatu,” he said.
The hard work and sacrifice did not stop there, as the Fiji U-20’s campaign at the OFC U-20 Championship tested the commitment of everyone involved in the team.
“The journey with the U-20’s was very good learning experience,” he said.
“I was working with Yogendra and FFA Technical Director Ravinesh Kumar, he was always helping us,” he added.
“We started our journey in December last year. We got players from all around Fiji and brought them in. We did trials for a few weeks before selecting the top 30 players to take into camp in January.
“We worked hard getting to know the players’ needs, helping them on a daily basis, trying to improve them at the same time I was trying to improve myself.
“The sacrifice from all of us, sacrificing family time, time with friends, routine activities, it was all for the love of football.”
With two days to go in the OFC B Licence coaching course, Kumar is feeling enlightened and confident about his coaching ability, and looks forward to sharing his knowledge and furthering his and others’ careers when he returns to Fiji.
“Going through these courses after being a player I realised how simple the game is, it’s so much easier to understand,” he said.
“As a player you don’t understand a lot of things but as a coach you’re able to figure out things quite easily.
“My goal now is to complete my B Licence successfully and implement everything I’ve learnt in my country.”
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