Young coaches ideal for the modern game

2011-07-09 18:50

Youthful former Baroka FC coach Sello Chokoe

says “in modern football, young coaches are the ones who achieve, as ­opposed to

those who have been there for longer in terms of age”.

Chokoe (28) who was appointed coach of First Division club Nathi

Lions this week, says the recent unveiling of 33-year-old Andre ­Villas-Boas as

the new Chelsea coach should be the trend local club owners follow.

“It’s high time that club owners entrusted young people with top

coaching positions,” argued the man who broke into coaching prominence with

Vodacom League outfit Baroka FC in this year’s Nedbank Cup.

“I could not have been hired by Nathi Lions had Baroka not given me

a platform to prove myself as a coach. Young ­coaches are proving themselves at

club and national team level, with good examples being ­Clinton Larsen (at

Bloemfontein Celtic) and Pitso Mosimane with Bafana Bafana.”

However, Chokoe, who holds a Safa Level 1 coaching certificate,

pointed out that only a few candidates progress despite a host of local talent

that undergoes training on an annual basis.

“In South Africa, you get someone with a coaching ­qualification

but they can’t get jobs and sit idle for 10 years,” said Chokoe.

Celtic chief executive Aiki Augousti said: “Football is one trade

where there is no ­guarantee in terms of formula. Some senior coaches might not

have evolved with the trade. Clinton was the perfect choice for the Celtic

coaching job ­because he is open to new ­technology and methodology.”

At 40, Larsen and AmaZulu’s Manqoba Mngqithi are jointly the

youngest SA-born mentors in the Premiership.

Ajax Cape Town’s Maarten Stekelenburg rates as the ­youngest at 38,

while Orlando Pirates’ Julio Leal is the oldest coach in the league at 60.

According to Stekelenburg’s CV, the Dutch-born coach ­started

coaching when he was 16. He spent 10 years in the youth structures at Ajax

­Amsterdam and was the Urban Warrior’s head of youth until he was announced as

the successor to Foppe de Haan.

During his unveiling last month, the baby-faced ­Stekelenburg was

described by Ajax CEO George Comitis
as “energetic, young and

ambitious” and added that along “with the club’s history of developing

players, we have also developed coaches.”

Leal countered that at his age he was still on a learning

curve, despite his 40-year ­soccer experience.

“I started coaching at 32 at Vasco da Gama in Rio de ­Janeiro

(Brazil). But I didn’t know everything and even at 60, I still don’t know

everything,” said the 2009 Nedbank Cup winning coach.

He cautioned that young mentors should be groomed the same way “as

Villas-Boas developed under (Jose) Mourinho. (Carlos) Parreira did the same with

(Joel) Santana and my brother Jairo (Leal)”.

Villas-Boas guided FC Porto to a treble last season while Chokoe

steered Baroka to the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup.

In Spain, Pep Guardiola has steered Barcelona to almost

­unprecedented success since his appointment as a 37-year-old in 2008.

Locally, only a few names – such as Mngqithi, Roger de Sa (Bidvest

Wits), Gavin Hunt ­(SuperSport United), Steve Komphela (Free State Stars), Owen

da Gama (Platinum Stars) and Craig Rosslee (ex-Ajax coach) – came through the

coaching ranks when they were in their early 30s.

Apart from Komphela, all these coaches have tasted success in

the domestic league.

Mngqithi guided Golden ­Arrows to their first major ­trophy in 2009

(MTN8 Cup), De Sa (2010 Nedbank Cup), Hunt (three Premiership titles), Da Gama

(2006 Telkom Knockout) while Rosslee – now the Mpumalanga Black Aces coach –

took Ajax to the 2008 Telkom Knockout triumph.


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