As part of the framework of the Legacy Programme at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016, a Futsal Coaching Course, jointly organised by FIFA's Technical Development Department and the Colombian Football Federation, took place in Cali between 12 and 16 September.
The FIFA instructor who led the course was the Brazilian Paulo Cesar de De Oliveira, better known as PC Oliveira, who guided Brazil to the title when they hosted the tournament in 2008. Attendees at the seminar included 38 head coaches and assistants, 26 representatives from clubs that play in Colombia's Liga Argos, and 12 delegates from the six South American countries that failed to qualify for the Futsal World Cup.
"FIFA have held four futsal courses: one on sports management, one on the basics, one for referees and this high-level one for coaches," Oliveira told FIFA.com. "In addition to developing futsal, the objective is for the coaches to be messengers and to take this back to their clubs, cities, regions, provinces and countries."
Creating the messageOliveira emphasised that the important thing is forming the message: "FIFA recommends a systemic way of thinking because the structure of learning is collective. Aside from the technical and tactical aspects, as well as the teaching material, FIFA strives to respect the style and history of each country and region. Today those things are non-negotiable."
The course was made up of four theoretical and practical sessions. "We established collective sections for the six moments of a match: defence, attacking transition, attack, defensive transition, playing with the goalkeeper, and strategy," Oliveira said. "We also established individual sections for each position. At the end each coach had to choose their system, all the while taking into account the limitations of place, structure and the players."
Oliveira believes it was "very enriching" to have held the seminar during the Futsal World Cup. "By going along to watch matches at this level it allowed us to go over both theoretical and practical questions, but also to witness situations that were not part of the course, but could be discussed afterwards."
Local influenceGeovanny Escobar agrees. The 36-year-old is coach of Real Antioquia, the most recent champions in the Liga Argos, a 20-team competition that is continually progressing: "Having a course right in the middle of the World Cup is excellent. In Colombia we work very empirically, so watching a match like Italy against Guatemala, for example, makes it all practical. There's no better way of remembering it."
The former wide-player, who retired from the game a year ago, continued: "Here we have the belief that our way of working is world class, but we're wrong. These courses help organise ideas and open our eyes to details we didn't even see before. It's like looking at futsal from a different perspective."
Like what, for example? "The need to be systematic in the game in order to be more productive, like Spain," he said. "Colombian players play very simply; they're comfortable. We need to work on our players sharing responsibility."
Given the number of Colombian coaches who took part at the course, Escobar hopes it will "help futsal grow across the country". He continued: "It would be ideal if we could make our players more competitive. There's a lot of talent here that us coaches haven't known how to make the most of."
High levelJorge Sere, a former goalkeeper who excelled at Nacional de Uruguay, where he won the Copa Libertadores, a Copa Intercontinental and a Uruguayan championship, has been a futsal coach since 2004. The Uruguayan is currently head coach of his country's women's national team.
"This course is at a higher level than I can apply in women's futsal," said the 55-year-old. "After incorporating the concepts, I need to see what and how I can take this to a place where the working conditions are limited or almost impossible to implement." For example? "In order to put together a team I have 20 sessions with girls who might have gone nine or ten months without playing. It's difficult.
"The great thing about this course is that it opens your mind," he continued. "It's important that an instructor with the standing of PC emphasises that what he says isn't the be all and end all; it's his opinion. That's good for me, because I need to add my own touch to the things that are worth copying."
Given his background, Sere paid special attention to the goalkeepers, both at the course and during the matches they watched in Cali. "Whether or not to involve the goalkeeper in play depends on the individuals. I was able to verify that where we're lagging behind in Uruguay, both for men and women, is with throw-outs. The good news is that it's something that's easy to work on."
Oliveira had the final word: "The aim of this course was to create a South American model of work, while respecting any different characteristics. Exchanging ideas is crucial in order to develop, and those exchanges can't only happen every four years. We need to strengthen this path."