SINGAPORE - Local coaches are set to receive a boost as part of Singapore's Unleash the Roar! (UTR) project with Friday's (Nov 19) announcement of a strategic partnership with Borussia Dortmund.
The partnership will see the Bundesliga giants, which has won the German league eight times and produced stars like Chelsea's Christian Pulisic and World Cup winner Mario Gotze, customise a development programme for promising youth coaches. This will be launched by next year.
The tie-up will also see Dortmund conduct coaching workshops here plus trips to Germany to witness the best practices first-hand.
Benedikt Scholz, managing director of BVB football academy & head of International Borussia Dortmund, welcomed the chance to "provide our youth and coaching expertise and philosophies to UTR and most importantly to the footballing family in Singapore".
The club also work with reigning Singapore Premier League (SPL) champions Lion City Sailors. In July, a 2 ½-year agreement was signed aimed at growing the infrastructure for Singapore's youth football development.
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) interim technical director and head of methodology Philippe Aw said the governing body will introduce a re-accreditation system - where coaches will need to renew their coaching licenses every three years - and a new mentorship programme for local coaches to tap.
He said: "Better coaches equate to better players. It's very important our youth coaches understand what is development. Coaches must adopt a mindset to learn.
"Therefore, coach education is crucial and that will play a key role for us to guide and align our coaches towards a methodology that is best for youth development here."
A national playing philosophy - one that is pro-active, possession based, high tempo style - was also presented.
While coaches welcomed FAS' proposals, some called for more clarity. Former Lions coach Vincent Subramaniam, 66, who has also served as a FAS coaching instructor, wondered: "Firstly, when they say possession- based football, what does that mean? Some teams can have 70-80 per cent of possession but end up losing matches.
"All these plans can look good on paper but it's the way the technical staff implement the ideas that could be the challenge. But we should give the team our support and give them the chance to implement these ideas.
"It's important that when we have set out a philosophy, we need to stick to it,"
FAS' former head of coach education and development Basir Ellaya Kutty, 58, who is now a senior manager in Fifa's coaching development department, noted there must be a platform for coaches to put theories into practice.
He said: "You can't teach someone to be a chef and not give him a kitchen to work in. My worry is that at the moment, there are too few youth teams.
"We could end up creating a supply not met by a demand. You can create the best coaches but you need to ensure that they will have a team to work with so that they can apply what they learn."
There was plenty of optimism though. Balestier Khalsa head coach Akbar Nawas, 45, said: "Most coaches are hungry for this, the opportunity to go on attachments and learn from the best who are abroad. Coaching is a job where the learning should never stop and it is great to see us put in place measures that will ensure our local coaches continue to develop."
For ex-Young Lions assistant coach S. Subramani, 49, the mentorship programme was most appealing. He said: "We always talk about exposure for players but it's equally important that we expose our coaches to overseas stints.
"As a coach, sometimes you may overlook certain aspects of players' development or other areas of a session or match, so a mentor can help to be extra pair of eyes and give a coach the guidance he needs."