The Egyptian capital Cairo was the venue between 3 and 7 May as the Confederation of African Football (CAF), aided by FIFA, held a training course on the system of coaching licences in Africa. It was the first time such a course had been organised on the continent, CAF having decided to introduce the Category B system of licences already operating in Europe and Asia. FIFA Technical Director Jean-Michel Benezet, FIFA instructor and international technical consultant Belhassen Malouche, and CAF Technical Director Abdel Moneim Hussein led the discussions.

Coaches travelled from all four corners of Africa to attend the event, with the South Africa Football Association’s Technical Director Serame Letsoaka particularly attentive to the lessons on offer. “This seminar is very interesting and we’ve learnt lots of things in little time thanks to these top-quality speakers,” he said. “The participants have come from all over Africa. We’ll work together to make sure that this system works to everyone’s advantage.”

Raising the standard
Experienced Ghanaian coach Fred Osam-Duodu also attended the course. “It’s great that FIFA and CAF are working together to help us raise the standard among coaches in Africa,” he said. “It’s going to open various doors and make it possible for African coaches to work overseas, including in Europe.”

It’s the best training course I’ve attended in terms of subjects touched upon, content and the quality of the speakers and participants.

Belhassen Malouche, course participant.

The principal goal of the course was to pass on knowledge to coaches and speakers, allowing them to train coaches in their own countries. Those coaches will then be in a position to obtain a B licence. “We thank FIFA for helping us apply the system of B licences for the first time in Africa,” explained Abdel Moneim Hussein.

“FIFA’s presence at our side makes it possible for us to tell everyone that we’re applying the system as it should be applied. No coach will be able to obtain the licence unless they reach the required level.”

Asked how widespread the new system will be and when it will be introduced, the CAF Technical Director was nonetheless careful to remain cautious. “It’s difficult to say for sure now,” he said. “We need time for a sufficient number of coaches to obtain their licences before the licensing system can be spread across all the associations. As the African confederation, we have to examine the question, but sooner or later we’ll need to make that step.”

Preparing for the highest level
For his part, Belhassen Malouche expressed his satisfaction with the seminar. “It’s the best training course I’ve attended in terms of subjects touched upon, content and the quality of the speakers and participants,” he said.

“The goal is to prepare speakers of the highest level to apply the licensing system throughout Africa. Everyone will benefit. It’s clear that the coordination and collaboration between FIFA and CAF over the last two years has had an important impact. The work has been carried out on a joint basis to provide the highest quality in all areas.”

Lastly, Jean-Michel Benezet explained FIFA’s plans to apply the licensing system throughout the whole world. “UEFA are the most advanced in this domain,” he said. “The AFC has started with it and now we’re in Africa. We’ll soon be continuing with Oceania and CONCACAF, then in October we’ll be in South America.”

The FIFA Technical Director likewise gave an insight into the background to the ambitious project. “We’ve been preparing this for 18 months. The goal is for the licences to be based on the same methods, the same number of hours of study and the same tests everywhere in the world.

"There are several categories of licence: C, B, A, Elite and Professional. We invited 35 African coaches to take part in this seminar and we hope they’ll obtain their licences to the benefit of their colleagues and countries. Among them there are former players like Sami Trabelsi, Mustapha El Haddaoui and other big names in African football.”

Overall, Benezet is optimistic about the venture. “We’re on the right track,” he said. “Our dream is for the system to be applied throughout the whole world within five or six years. When that happens, a Brazilian coach, for example, will be able to work in Europe with total ease and without the slightest problem.”