FROM LEFT: Martin Hope, Country Director, British Council, Paul Hughes, Head Coach-Premier League, Ahmed Omar, Coach Education and Development Director QFA, and Laura Milburn, Woverhampton Wanderers FC, during a press conference in Doha yesterday.
BY DENZIL PINTO
DOHA: Premier Skills, a highly successful initiative launched in Qatar yesterday, can help improve the development of football coaching in the country, according to a UEFA qualified coach.
Thirty-two grass-root coaches, both male and female, across Qatar have begun their three-day training programme in a project which will be led by UEFA qualified coaches Paul Hughes and Laura Milburn.
Hughes, who is also the Director of Innovative Sports Consultancy and has coached in England, said the course initiative can provide the platform for participants to develop their coaching skills further.
He told The Peninsula: “Any course is always a good opportunity for a coach for their football development. We are coming over here (from UK) to use our knowledge and expertise that we got in the UK to improve new coaches here in Qatar, so they are here starting on their coaching pathway.”
He added: “We are able to give them some good foundation in a number of different areas to help them progress and continue as a coach. What we have done is that it is in partnership with the Qatar Football Association (QFA). So following the four days, the QFA and other partners here in Qatar will get some coaches who they will be able to use and continue here in a developing country. The QFA will work with those individuals and get them to impart their knowledge and expertise that they will learn this week to young children here in Qatar.”
The coaching initiative is aimed at developing a brighter future for young people around the world, including tackling a variety of issues.
When asked how previous participants have implemented their skills in the sport and in society, Hughes replied: “They’ve gone on to do a number of different things. A lot of coaches have gone on to work in their respective Football Associations on a part-time basis and full-time basis to actually becoming professional football referees within that network, whether that is in a community setting or the actual professional institutions of that country. Some people have gone on to become professional coaches in the professional leagues.”
Hughes, who has coached in 18 projects to date, added: “Some people have gone onto develop community football projects to tackle issues that occur in the community. For instance, in Africa, they use football to engage young people in dealing with HIV and AIDS. Football is the hook to get them in and attract them. On one occasion, while people were there and they were educated on the issue of HIV. There’s been a number of individuals who have set up their own community programmes to try and support football and the general community.”
The female coaches are from Qatar Women’s Sports Committee (QWSC) and will undertake their training at state-of-the-art Aspire Academy.
The males were nominated by QFA and will be taught at QFA training ground. The course is jointly organised by British Council of Qatar and the Premier League, with the support of the English Football Association, QFA and the QWSC.
Milburn and Hughes will be supported by FA’s coach Sally Needham. All three hold UEFA B coaching certificates. The coaching course will end tomorrow. THE PENINSULA