Technical Directors Kilifi Uele and Ravinesh Kumar are representing Tonga and Fiji respectively at this week’s OFC/NZF A Licence coaching course in Auckland, aiming to build a higher standard of coaching in their countries.
Although receiving the A Licence qualification is the ultimate goal, both Uele and Kumar intend on absorbing as much information as possible to take home and pass on to coaches in their Member Associations.
“Over the past 10 months I’ve thought about gaining this knowledge and what I’m going to do after this for my country and for the Oceania region as well,” Kumar said.
“One of my objectives is to enhance the coaching level in Fiji, both at elite and performance levels, plus work towards the coach education programme which is very, very important for all of us.
“Another one of my objectives is to go out to the outer islands of Fiji and outside of Fiji, the tier two groups like Tonga, Samoa and Cook Islands, and we just got an invitation from Tuvalu, and deliver the coaching courses and get more coaches on board.”
Kumar is confident that the development of coaches will come easier with the knowledge of the A Licence course after the progress made in the few months since participating in part one.
“I have seen a vast difference in the way we used to work before and now our national teams, the youth national teams and some of the district teams where I went and worked, their performance has gone up and it has had a big impact on us,” he said.
“I’m working with a group of national coaches, national youth coaches and some of the club coaches as well. When I give them life examples from the games and then set up the programme and the session plan for them, then they realise ‘oh yes, this is the way it should be done’. Now the majority of them have adopted it and they’re working towards it.”
For Uele, the step up to the A Licence has been a challenge but the former Tonga international has already started reaping the benefits of the knowledge he gained in part one of the course.
“It’s challenging, it’s a higher level of coaching course but it’s driving me forward,” he said.
“It’s helped me a lot in guiding the direction of Tonga Football Association especially in player development and coach education.”
“I’ve gained more experience and become more effective in what I train and also take on board people that need my support.”
“It’s a benefit for Tonga Football as a whole and the development of the game back home.”
Although Kumar and Uele are the only representatives from both countries, the number of Tongan and Fijian participants at the recent OFC B Licence course indicates that there are plenty following in their footsteps.
“I was very happy and Fiji was fortunate to have five candidates on the last B Licence. That is one of the ways to move forward,” Kumar said.
“We are assisting them to complete their B Licence and move towards the A Licence so by the end of maybe 2018, we’ll have at least four or five A Licence coaches in Fiji.”