Katz’s SA blueprint for suc­cess in In­dia

Post - - Sport - KAMLESH GOSAI

WHILE South African foot­ball con­tin­ues to grap­ple with chal­lenges of trans­form­ing its coach­ing cur­ricu­lum, a for­mer SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) coaches in­struc­tor is im­ple­ment­ing a lo­cally de­vel­oped pro­gramme in In­dia.

Kar­na­garan “Katz” Naidoo of Pi­eter­mar­itzburg re­cently com­pleted re­search­ing and writ­ing the coach­ing man­ual for the de­vel­op­ment unit of pro­fes­sional In­dian club Dempo SC. The cor­ner­stone of his man­ual is based on the Max­i­mal Train­ing phi­los­o­phy, a brain-cen­tred coach­ing con­cept that was pi­o­neered in South Africa by late Ro­ma­nian coach Ted Du­mitru.

Naidoo, 67, who con­sid­ered the for­mer Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sun­downs and Bafana Bafana coach as his men­tor, has been work­ing in the sub­con­ti­nent since 2013.

Cur­rently he is the Head of De­vel­op­ment at Dempo, over­see­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of a multi-mil­lion rand res­i­den­tial acad­emy in the tourist state of Goa.

The process of set­ting up the acad­emy re­quired a coach­ing cur­ricu­lum, which took Naidoo ap­prox­i­mately 10 months of plan­ning the con­tent with il­lus­tra­tions, hav­ing it laid out in a 301-page book for­mat, and fi­nally get­ting it printed. The man­ual is for the exclusive use of Dempo SC.

“Ini­tially I planned to do a ba­sic cur­ricu­lum for the four age groups to sat­isfy the AIFF (All In­dia Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion) and AFC (Asian Foot­ball Con­fed­er­a­tion) club ac­cred­it­ing sys­tem. How­ever, when I looked at the re­search ma­te­rial I re­alised a com­pre­hen­sive cur­ricu­lum is the way I should go for the Dempo tech­ni­cal staff and a ba­sic copy for the Club Ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

“It cov­ers the ‘Per­for­mance Fac­tors’ in de­tail and is ap­plied within the game method of train­ing (Max­i­mal Train­ing). It is based on the Long Term Player De­vel­op­ment, Learn­ing to Train, Train­ing to Train, Train­ing to Com­pete and Train­ing to Win. Hence the cur­ricu­lum tar­gets the age groups within the club struc­ture - grass­roots, un­der-14, un­der-16 and un­der-18s. It is spe­cific to youth foot­ball,” said Naidoo, who pre­vi­ously over­saw the de­vel­op­ment acad­emy of PSL club Mar­itzburg United.

Like his guru Du­mitru, who died aged 76 last year af­ter work­ing for over three decades in south­ern African foot­ball, Naidoo first stud­ied the game in Goa be­fore work­ing on his man­ual. His in­ter­na­tional ca­reer be­gan in 2013 at the Goa Foot­ball De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil, whose of­fi­cials vis­ited South Africa and re­quested Safa’s as­sis­tance to draw up their own de­vel­op­ment blueprint. Safa rec­om­mended Naidoo, and af­ter a year in Goa, pro­fes­sional club side Dempo took note of Katz’s work and re­cruited him to launch their res­i­den­tial acad­emy.

“In plan­ning the cur­ricu­lum I took into con­sid­er­a­tion the cul­ture and char­ac­ter­is­tics of the play­ers who I had been re­search­ing from the mo­ment I ar­rived in In­dia in 2013.

“I noted most of the play­ers in the se­nior youth level have po­ten­tial but the tech­ni­cal and tac­ti­cal de­fects are ev­i­dent mainly due to miss­ing the phases of de­vel­op­ment.

“This was mainly due to the coaches’ men­tal­ity of sac­ri­fic­ing qual­ity per­for­mance for win­ning at all cost and treat­ing youth play­ers like pro­fes­sion­als. As Ted would say, ‘if there is no tech­nique there can be no tac­tics’.

“They also have the univer­sal prob­lem of egos which ham­pers free­dom for the young­sters to en­joy play­ing. I think one will agree that chil­dren don’t play to win, they play to be part of the game.”

De­spite the lengthy process of com­ing up with art work to il­lus­trate the train­ing drills, proof­ing the copy and deal­ing with a print­ing com­pany, Naidoo was glad that the man­ual pre­sented him an op­por­tu­nity to ex­press his grat­i­tude to Du­mitru in the fore­word. He also men­tioned for­mer Safa tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor, Ger­man Horst Kri­ete, for in­still­ing a strong work ethic in his coach­ing ap­proach.

With the coach­ing cur­ricu­lum man­ual pre­sented to club chair­man, Goan busi­ness con­glom­er­ate Shrini­vas Dempo, the for­mer Chatsworth res­i­dent is back to the daily grind of man­ag­ing his tech­ni­cal staff of eight coaches, two man­agers, two phys­io­ther­a­pists and four kit men at the acad­emy, which re­cently took in its first batch of un­der-14 play­ers.

By De­cem­ber Naidoo ex­pects the acad­emy’s ad­min­is­tra­tion block and grass pitch to be of­fi­cially opened. There­after he will fo­cus on set­ting up an astro pitch and a hos­tel block, af­ter which the com­mer­cial­is­ing of the pro­gramme will take ef­fect.

For some­one who spent the bulk of his ca­reer coach­ing the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of South African coaches, Naidoo is lap­ping up this ex­pe­ri­ence in a for­eign land in the twi­light of his ca­reer.

“Set­ting up the acad­emy in a for­eign coun­try has been a huge chal­lenge that needed me to dig deep, but the years in the in­dus­try, my stint as an in­struc­tor, De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor at Mar­itzburg United, and teach­ings of my late guru Ted Du­mitru and help from col­leagues Thabo Dladla, Zipho Dlangla and the late Ur­ban de Kock, has made it pos­si­ble for me take on this chal­lenge,” he said.

While in In­dia the veteran coach will get to en­joy the Fifa Un­der-17 World Cup, the first foot­ball World Cup hosted by the coun­try, which kicks off next month. South Africa failed to qual­ify for the event.

South African coach Kar­na­garan “Katz” Naidoo, left, presents the foot­ball coach­ing man­ual he com­piled to Shrini­vas Dempo, chair­man of In­dian club Dempo SC

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