Coaching ● Feb 15, 2017

National Team Players Looking to the Future with ‘C’ Coaching Certificate Course


While they have showed Singapore what they are capable of on the pitch, seven current and former National Team players took a peek into the other side of the game at the first Asian Football Confederation (AFC)/ Football Association of Singapore (FAS) ‘C’ Coaching Certificate Course of the year.

Organised in conjunction with Sport Singapore (SportSG) earlier this month, the course was attended by SportSG coaches along with Precious Emuejeraye, Madhu Mohana, Izwan Mahbud, Daniel Bennett, Faritz Hameed, Khairul Amri and Yasir Hanapi.

The National Team players’ attendance at the course was made possible and supported by FAS, in light of their contributions to the nation.

FAS Technical Director Michel Sablon kicked off the eight-day course by sharing the FAS development philosophies with the participants, bringing them on board with the plans the Association has for the players and coaches. Ex-National Team players Aleksandar Duric and T. Pathmanathan, currently the Principal and Senior Manager of the ActiveSG Football Academy respectively, were also present at the opening and were highly supportive of the initiative to have the National Team players attend the course.

“It is so important for the National Team players to take this coaching course because these are the players we need for the development of football. They will not only be role models but also mentors to the younger generation who watch them on the field,” said Duric.

“I was still playing when I took my first coaching course, and thought I knew everything as a player. But I realised that there are so many things that you miss by just playing. Coaching is totally different, and I encourage all our national players – in fact, all players – to attend a coaching course. This is also an opportunity for them to give back to the community so that the football family can become bigger and better,” concluded the former striker.

Added former Lions captain T. Pathmanathan: “This is a good opportunity for the players to start getting into the system of coaching. My playing experience actually helped me a lot as a coach and we definitely need experienced players like our national players (coming into coaching). In fact, they can contribute from time to time now, not only after they retire.”

Having the National players join the course also benefited the other coaches in attendance. Caroline Chia, a volunteer coach with ActiveSG, shared that she drew many takeaways from both the coaches and experienced players, which helped her to develop a better understanding of coaching.

The national players in attendance may be at various stages of their playing career, but all were looking forward to learning more about coaching, and reaping the benefits of understanding a coach’s mindset.

Tampines Rovers defender Daniel Bennett, who has 132 caps for Singapore, explained: “I’ve been wanting to do a coaching course for a long time because I’ve been playing for so long and there comes a point where you want to be involved on the other side. FAS’ efforts in in helping us get our coaching qualifications is something I think that every football association in the world should do. It’s a natural progression (from player to coach).”

Younger players like Madhu Mohana are optimistic about the positive impact of the coaching course on their playing career.

“It’s good to take the course now and it would be great to give back to Singapore football. With FAS subsidising the fees for us, it shows that they care for us – the players . There’s a lot to learn in terms of coaching and I can also improve as a player. For example, I will be able to understand what the coaches are feeling as they coach, and I can bring that with me when I train,” he said.

Like Madhu, the other National Team players similarly expressed their gratitude to the FAS for their assistance in arranging for them to attend the course.

Geylang International FC defender Faritz Hameed hailed FAS’ efforts and the structure of the course: “It’s nice of FAS to arrange this for us. It makes us feel appreciated as players. It’s a privilege that has been given to us and it’s also good because we can return the favour if we become coaches. The course has already changed me as a player – I understand better what the coaches think because I think like one.

“The theoretical sessions were very interactive and entertaining. I also understand that previously the course stretched for two weeks and assessments were conducted during those two weeks. Now that assessments are conducted after the course, it’s better because we can concentrate on the learning.”

Most of the players highlighted their intention to continue playing for as long as they can, and emphasised that the course had influenced them as players. For senior players like Daniel, with his wealth of experience, the course was more of a refresher for him. However, he urged younger players to take the course as it would help them to gain insight into the game.

His suggestion was echoed by Tampines Rovers FC goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud’s reflection on the course: “I’ve gained more knowledge of the game after this course. As a player, you don’t see certain aspects of the game but as a coach, you will understand the reasoning behind certain actions. It was really an eye-opener for me, so my thanks to the FAS for arranging this for us.

“It was difficult to juggle the course and my studies and training. It’s hard when there’s training in the morning and then we attend the course in the afternoon. But football is in our blood, we’re passionate about it and we have to make sacrifices.”

The sacrifices the players made were duly noted by the Head of Coach Education Mohamed Basir Ellaya Kutty, who was also the lead tutor for the course. He said: “It’s heartening to note that the current and former National Team players are stepping up to pursue an education in coaching very early. I am sure the course will add a very different perspective of the game to them. They were given a sneak peek and a behind-the-scenes view of what coaching is about, albeit at a very rudimentary level. They have shown good commitment and expended a lot of energy to the rigours of the course.

“The arrangement by the FAS for the National Team players serves as a way to not only acknowledge the players who have turned out for Singapore but also provides an avenue for them to continue a career in football, should they desire to.”