UNIVERSITY of Zambia lecturer Hikabwa Chipande says combining academic knowledge of sport and practice will help Zambia breed more enlightened coaches.
Chipande says UNZA is in the process of having a fully-fledged department of physical education and sports which will be critical in training a cadre of highly skilled coaches.
The FAZ Technical Directorate has conducted a D Licence for 35 masters degree students in Physical Education and Sports at the University of Zambia.
Chipande, who is the course facilitator, said the move would help move coaching to another level by incorporating personnel with solid academic credentials.
He said the 35 candidates were all masters degree students, already with a bachelors’ degree qualification.
“This training is being offered to our masters students. This is the first cohort of masters students in physical education and sport,” said Chipande. “Most of them are grounded people with bachelors’ degrees in physical education and sport and they have studied anatomy, physiology, exercise psychology and coaching. They basically understand most of the theoretical aspects. They need the practical side.”
FAZ technical director Lyson Zulu has hailed the partnership between UNZA and FAZ as historic.
Zulu said the move was aimed at bridging the gap between academia and practice in the field of coaching.
Hildah Sikalundu, a participant, said the training was important as it empowered teachers with coaching skills.
Sikalundu said the focus on youth programmes was critical in grooming future stars.
The David Livingstone College of Education lecturer said the programme would help in her dealings with young athletes.
Manfred Sindambi, a sports officer at Mulungushi University, said the focus on player development was critical in the course structure.
“The instructors have stressed much on developmental football covering six to 18 years which was not very common in Zambia. Usually we use wrong equipment and tactics and procedures,” he said.
“It will help improve the standards of football in schools and universities. I am vying for class C. The aim is not only to coach but also to be a football administrator and maybe one day start an academy of my own.”
Sindambi said the initiative to incorporate physical education graduates in the programme was commendable.
“Football is scientific, mere talent cannot do much. As you can see we have differently qualified people here pursuing high level career paths. Most importantly people come from across the country which spreads the impact. Physical education is vast, we deal with psychology, sociology and philosophy of sports. These are things that coaches usually don’t have and adding that will really add value,” he said.
Sindambi cited successful physical trainers that had previously earned Zambia glory.
“If you look at the history of Zambia, most prolific coaches that have brought glory were once physical education teachers. For example Ante Buselic was a professor of physical education and Herve Renard who was a teacher of physical education and proves something,” said Sindambi.
FAZ intends to use the education background of the graduates to enhance the quality of coaches across the country.