If you can’t become a footballer, what else can you do in your favourite sport?
In part two of this two-part special feature, we tell you how to go about becoming a coach in India if you want to, and introduce you to a management course in football, for those of you who might want to take the administrative route. Your education continues!
Coaching in India
Generally, the terms coach and manager are used interchangeably in the media, but the duties of a coach and manager are not exactly the same. It also depends on the country at times. Ferguson, Wenger etc and all coaches in England are referred to as managers, but in Italy or Spain, they are usually called coaches, with most clubs having Technical or Sporting Directors.
A manager is generally someone who focuses more on tactics, and has more control over youth development, the club’s transfer policy etc, whereas in the truest form of the word, a coach focuses primarily on the physical and technical aspects of the game. He works with the players in training and helps develop their skills. The types of coaches vary, from youth coaches to first-team coaches to goalkeeping coaches.
Their responsibilities are different too. While a manager’s responsibility is to win games and championships, the coach’s responsibility is to keep the players fully trained and fit. At the end of the day though, you can’t become a manager if you’re not a coach.
So how does one become a coach in the Indian system?
In India, the coaching licenses are of three kinds – ‘C,’ ‘B,’ and ‘A.’ The ‘C’ license is the lowest qualification, which enables you to coach at small academies and small, local teams, where as with the ‘A’ license, you can coach I-league teams and national teams.
Accreditation is given by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and this license is on par with the coaching licenses given by the FA or UEFA. So if you get your coaching badges here in India and prove yourself, there is a theoretical chance of you going on to coach your dream teams.
But how do you start?
You start by getting your ‘C’ license. The AFC organises certificate courses aimed at training coaches and developing their basic techniques and skills in football. It teaches the coaches to organize, direct, and conduct basic coaching practice with a focus on youth players.
This course lasts for 13-15 days (85 hours), during which you will undergo various practical and theoretical sessions learning the finer points of the game. After the course, you are required to sit for an examination (consisting 3 practical sessions and 2 written sessions), in which you are assessed on the extent of your learning.
You get your results after 6 months, and assuming you get through, you will be given a logbook in which you list your coaching activity for 3 months. Once you submit your logbook, you get your certificate from the AFC, and become a proud recipient of the AFC ‘C’ coaching license.
After you get your ‘C’ license, you work for roughly two years (After finishing a set number of hours), after which you can apply for your ‘B’ coaching license. The above process is repeated, and after your classes by the AFC (for 20 days this time), passing your exams, and filling your logbooks, you get your ‘B’ license, with which you can coach at I-league second division clubs.
After roughly one year (Again, a set number of hours) of coaching with your ‘B’ license, you can then apply for the ‘A’ license, which is the pinnacle. 27 days of training classes conducted by the AFC, followed by examinations and filling your coaching activity logbook will get you your ‘A’ license, following which you can start coaching I-league teams or national teams.
And the financial prospects are great for a coach. You all can probably imagine how much a Kevin Keen (Coach at Liverpool) or Aitor Karanka (Assistant Manager at Real Madrid) earns.
But be warned, getting to the top is not easy, at all. Former players are given preference over those who never played the game professionally at every step, though everyone can apply and earn their badges. You can take heart from Arrigo Sacchi’s golden words when his ability to coach a great team like Milan was questioned after his background as a shoe salesman – “I never realized that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first.”
The MBA way
The University of Liverpool offers a one-of-its-kind MBA (Football Industries) programme aimed at combining professional development in the field of the football industries, with a critical awareness of the issues involved in football management, marketing, and administration. A course such as this will be of interest to students wishing to pursue a career in the football industry, be it with football clubs, governing bodies or related marketing, media and sponsorship companies.
This is the first MBA qualification in the world to focus upon the rapidly expanding worldwide interest in the professionalism, business, and marketing of football.
The 12-month program, consisting of seven compulsory modules including Research Skills for Management, and elective modules, followed by a research project carried out over the summer period upon completion of the second semester, comprises the following three elements:
- A grounding in the core disciplines essential to management.
- Specialised professional development by means of taught modules.
- A project or dissertation comprising an independent piece of research.
The program also offers students the opportunity to gain practical experience in the football industry or related industries via a placement scheme. Such placements generally last up to one month, and offer students first-hand experience and knowledge of specific elements of the industry.
With its contacts within various clubs, media organisations, financial institutions, organising bodies, and other related companies mainly in the UK but also abroad, the university offers placements on-campus, although students are welcome to arrange their own placement in consultation with the staff.
You are expected to hold a degree, or in the case of non-graduates, extensive professional experience, have a minimum of three years of appropriate work experience, and a good command of the English language.
We caught up with Dr. Geoff Pearson, Director of Studies (MBA Football Industries), University of Liverpool, for more information about the course. Here are some answers to questions you might have.
Could you explain, in your words, what students can gain from this course?
An MBA (FI) graduate will gain the MBA qualification – which in any industry is exceptionally valuable. They will also gain cutting-edge knowledge and skills that are relevant to the contemporary international football industry from our taught modules, guest speaker programme, and placement scheme. But probably most important of all for graduates wishing to work in football, they will leave Liverpool with their own personal football network, that they can utilise to kick-start and advance their career.
What are the qualities you look for in applicants?
We look for candidates who have an undergraduate degree (the subject is not important, although the grade is), good English communication skills, at least three years’ experience in business (any industry but in a decision-making/managerial role), and a keen interest in football.
How are the students evaluated at the end of the course?
Students are evaluated throughout the programme in a number of ways. We have exams, assessed essays, presentations, group work, crisis management exercises and mock press conferences, negotiation exercises and a dissertation or work-based placement report.
What kind of placements could one expect?
We encourage students to identify what area of the football industry they wish to work in and then to pursue a placement in that sector. We will of course assist in introducing students to potential placement providers (e.g. clubs, event organisers, sponsors etc.), but we expect that students have clear ideas about what kind of placement they want, and why.
How relevant is the syllabus in today’s global scenario? Could an Indian, for example, take this course and come back to India, or go to some other country and work?
Yes. We keep the course very up to date with developments in football throughout the world. Current modules include International Football Industry, Sports Operations Management, becoming a Football Executive, Football and Finance, and Football and the Law. Both the content of these courses and the skills taught will be useful for someone working in the football industry throughout the world.
So while a sports management course is always relevant for someone wanting to get into the business of football, a specialized football course such as this one would be exactly what one needs. Hopefully we see such courses in India very soon as well, which could lead to better football administrators, and eventually help Indian football.
3 Responses to Careers In Football – Part II