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Coaches told to develop youth football

Local coaches who are participating in an OFC Senior C License course currently underway in Honiara are encouraged to focus on youth football to achieve better results in future competitions.

This was a major key topic of discussion in the first two days of the coaching course hosted at the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) academy.

SIFF Technical Director, Felipe Vega-Arango is conducting the week-long training as a professional instructor for Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).

The Spaniard highlighted the footballing gap between professional football with Solomon Islands standard is vast because there is lack of focus on player development.

He believed that the major problem of Solomon football is players were not coming through the phases of development.

SIFF Technical Director and OFC coaching instructor speaking to the participants. Photo: SIFF Media

Phase 1 of player development starts from 6 to 12-year-olds which where grassroots football actively involved.

Kids year 13 to 16-year-olds are reaching the youth development stage which is lacking in the country.

When players gets to 19 they are ready to perform because they already passed through the youth development phase.

Felipe said key to be successful in youth development is to ensure young players have a chance to play, promote a shared development philosophy, develop an effective organization from an operational point of view and a holistic approach covering all areas, including academic education, psychological support and personality development.

“We don’t have grassroots, youth development and leagues for future players, so I need you to find ways to fix it”, the Spaniard said.

“Problem we have in the Solomon Islands is players are missing a lot of important basics when they are young.

“In Spain when you are 16 you’re ready to compete in an academy in Barcelona or Real Madrid and if you reached the U-19 level, all you need to do is perform.

“The first time Messi played for Barcelona was a 16-year-old, so it is important that young players grow and mature technically, tactically, physically, mentally and socially within the football environment to perform better in elite football.

“In the Solomon Islands most of the kids are gifted because I have been in many countries but here it is obvious that the kids are naturally gifted and tactically they are lost.”

The participants paying close attention to a present from the instructor. Photo: SIFF Media

As estimated, Solomon Islands has more players playing in the senior level compared to youth leagues without passing through various development phases.

Thus, participants were put to the task to identify ways to address player development in the country.

Meanwhile, day two saw OFC Referee Development Officer (RDO) Neil Poloso talks on the laws of the game in a video session with the participants.

Neil said that coaches need to understand the laws of the game to make the game beautiful to watch.

“As an aspiring coach you should all know the laws of the game to help you understand the decisions refs are making during a match”, he said.

OFC Referee Development Officer (RDO) Neil Poloso speaks on the laws of the game. Photo: SIFF Media

Following the guidelines of OFC, SIFF has established a new coaching education structure and now we have a clear pathway for the coach education which is really important for the future of the game in the country and in the region.

Last year the technical director, Felipe Vega-Arango with the help of two OFC instructors succesfully held a OFC B-License
course for the first time in Honiara.

The success of football is very much tied with the success of coaches at the individual level. In recognition of this, a very strong push is being made by the SIFF technical department to train qualified coaches for local clubs and teams.

By impacting football positively through coaching, it is expected that overall succes will come about.

Meanwhile, there are 31 participants doing the OFC Senior C License and 10 of them are C License holders doing refreshment to renew their qualification.

Majority of the participants are former Solomon Islands internationals, a Japanese and a Papua New Guinea aspiring coach.

Participants: Valldor Han, Waely Ledi, Jeremy Masolo (PNG), Marlon Maemania, Cliff Jerimoth, George Keso, Vivian Wickham, Seri Hite, Clifton Aumae, Paul Kakai Jnr, Peter Ramofolo, John Solodia, Gabriel Samani, George Lui, Kellington Simeon, Calvin Charles, Shimpei Fujiyama(JAP) and Zantas Kabini. 

Refreshments: Christopher Asipara, Rence Talo, Antoinette Miniti, Selson Molea, Peter Jerry, Fred Osifelo, Paul Usumae, Robert Seni, Casper Filifalu and Prudence Fula.

Instructor: Felipe Vega-Arango (Spain)


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