Was it great fun cheering for Germany or Argentina during the World Cup final on Sunday night? Was it even more fun backing Brazil until things horribly went wrong for them? Or perhaps the feisty Algerians caught your fancy? And if nothing else then there was always the magical James Rodriguez and the dancing Colombians to back.
But did you ever at any point during the last month hope that Uganda would have been part of this tournament too? Being a neutral observer and all that is fine but nothing beats supporting your home country at all levels.
Uganda can learn many lessons from how Germany became world champions again.
Even without a team of their own, 30 to 70 million people tuned in to watch the live telecast in Uganda. Ugandans were also very active on social media – accounting for the second-greatest social media engagement after Brazilians during the month-long tournament. In most cases, this sort of interest translates into talent at the grassroot level as well.
While Uganda (world ranked 86th) has been slowly — very slowly — trying to get its football act together, here are a few lessons that I think we should learn from the World Cup.
Follow Germany’s lead it needed to overhaul it’s system completely if it wanted to become a football superpower. So they went about changing their system — making it mandatory for all clubs in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga to have proper youth systems in place.
So to begin with — licensed coaches start teaching exactly the same kind of football to 6-year-olds all over Germany. Then by the time they are 8, the children are being scouted and if they are good enough, they are whisked away to a club program.
Andre Schürrle (23) and Mario Gotze who combined to score the vital goal, came through the youth academies. As did Julian Draxler (19), Sven Bender (24), Thomas Müller (23), Holger Badstuber (24), Mats Hummels (24), Mesut Ozil (24), Ilkay Gündoğan (22), Marco Reus (23), Toni Kroos (23).
It is a system that has delivered a World Cup and while Uganda should not expect such success, it is something we should aim at replicating, especially the Cubs team that should be strongly looked at ahead of 2017 Under-17 World Cup.
To be fair, it will require a complete revamp of club football and league football in the country; one that will ensure the clubs have the money to set up the coaching facilities of the kids, but it isn’t impossible if the commitment and the funds are in place.
Skills are important but so is fitness
It’s okay if you don’t have great skills. But to compete at the highest level you need to be super fit. That is how Iran almost had Argentina in trouble during group stage. They chased down every thing, closed the gap quickly and it took a moment of Messi genius to break them down.
This is also how South Korea does it. Skills are important but without fitness, you won’t be able to execute your skills.
Hire a top coach and facilitate them
Pay top dollar, hire coaches at all necessary levels and let them do the job. Coaches who know how to make a programe, Coaches who can teach tactics to all the youngsters, who go countrywide in search for talents, who meet super league coaches at the beginning and end of each league and discuss the differences met during the season, and solutions sought.
Friendly games (home and away) should be set up for all national teams against clubs/countries. Here, am not attacking or undermining any coach!!
Give the seniors a break
They have reached their ceiling. The future is youth and Uganda needs to focus all its attention on them. Include as man youngster in the squad as possible, hedge all your getting your act right.
The local government should strongly sport FUFA activities and clubs as well.
For God and my Country.