Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat issues solution to develop African football

FOOTBALL Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat issues solution to develop African football

Festus Chuma 16:30 - 23.03.2024

Engin Firat criticized African football federations for frequent coach sackings, advocating for long-term development and stability to nurture talent.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has launched a scathing critique against the prevalent trend among African football federations to hastily dismiss coaching staff. 

The Turkish coach's comments come several weeks after a wave of firings followed the underwhelming performances of several national teams, including Egypt, Ghana, Tunisia, and Tanzania, at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. 

According to Firat, this pattern is not only detrimental to the sport's growth on the continent but also undermines the potential for long-term success.

"It's my first year at the helm of Kenya's national team, I've witnessed firsthand the volatility within African football management. The frequent turnover of coaches and the constant shift in coaching philosophies starkly contrast with the stable, developmental approaches we see in other parts of the world," remarked the Turkish tactician.

Firat pointed out that the fixation on immediate results is a significant barrier to progress. 

"This preoccupation with short-term victories, at the expense of systematic development and nurturing of talent, effectively stunts the growth of the sport on the continent," he stated.

The 53-year-old argues that such an approach fails to capitalize on Africa's rich reservoir of untapped talent, which, if properly developed, could significantly enhance the competitive edge of national teams on the global stage.

Firat is currently in Malawi with his team, preparing for their first match in the Four Nations Tournament where they take on hosts Malawi on Saturday evening. 

He believes such competitions are crucial not merely as contests to be won but as opportunities for strategic preparation and innovation. 

"Tournaments like these are not just about winning. They are platforms for testing new strategies, for player evaluation under international pressure, and for making informed decisions about future competitions, including World Cup qualifiers," Firat explained.

The gaffer strongly advocates for a shift towards more European-styled systematic development programs, emphasizing talent identification and nurturing. 

"To unlock the full potential of African football, it's imperative we adopt a more structured approach to development, one that allows coaches the time and stability to implement their vision and cultivate talent effectively," he added.

The Four Nations Tournament, which adopts a semi-final format leading to a final clash on Tuesday, 26th March, will not only showcase the senior teams but also feature corresponding competitions for the U20 squads. 

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