AFTER almost 20 hours of travel, 14 of the 15 registered coaches arrived at the Traffic Academy in Porto Feliz, Sao Paulo, Brazil at approximately 10:30 am local time (8:30 am Jamaica time) on Sunday.
Lester Smith of Grenada was expected to arrive some time the following day. Present on the course are Andrew Edwards, National U-20 men’s coach; Andrew Price, technical director Boys’ Town FC; Junior Francis, Reno FC; Laurence Garriques, UTech; Jeffrey Hewitt and Calvin Lewis of Red Stripe Premier League champions Portmore; Harold Thomas of Harbour View; David Pryce of Volvo; Marcel Gayle of Waterhouse; Alvin Shaw of Tivoli FC; Vassel Reynolds and Nigel Stewart of Sporting Central; and Jamaal Shabazz and Wayne Dover of Guyana’s National Football team.
After lunch the course got off to a sprightly start. Professor Walter Gama, technical director of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), welcomed the participants to the course, Traffic Academy and Brazil.
Gam postulated that “Knowledge and Discipline” shall be the slogan for the course, which represents the critical areas of focus he wishes to develop among participants.
Daniel Gama, one of the co-ordinators, led the opening lecture, introducing participants to the course content, expectations and materials.
He outlined the structure which covers topics ranging from theoretical and practical frameworks of new perspectives in coaching, training and intervention based on science and didactic observations of training sessions and matches.
The instructors will include experienced football professionals and sport science researchers. Among those slated to give lectures/presentations are Professor Walter Gama, Daniel Gama, Rodolfo Canavesi, Marcio Amoroso, Nivaldo Baldo, Ana Maria Pellegrini, Lucas G`oes, Anderson Gongora, Marcella Cesar, Victorino Freire, Rene Simoes, Fabio Matias, Renato Molina, Emerson Viera Marinho, Clovis Alberto Franciscon, and Anahy Couto.
Although suffering from obvious jet-lag, lethargy and sheer exhaustion, the cadre of coaches in attendance exhibited plenty of grit, determination and zeal to optimise this opportunity for personal development and by extension the development of Jamaica’s football. In the words of Andrew Price, “the experience thus far has been very good, the camaraderie amongst the coaches excellent”.
Price also said “the course content is very interesting” and that he found the first presentation done by Rodolfo Canavesi to be “very thought-provoking and a testament to how far behind we (Jamaica) are in terms of football development”.
David Pryce of Volvo FC claimed: “Thus far this has been a great eye-opener in terms of presentation and professional football. I am glad for the exposure to the Traffic Academy environment and experience, and to see first-hand a world-class football facility.”
He also said he is anxiously looking forward to the remainder of the course.
In describing the first day interactions, Daniel Gama opined that “the group is a very committed one, showing plenty of interest, attentiveness and desire to learn”. He sees this as “a great opportunity for both the participants and the co-ordinators to learn from each other as we all seek to improve our respective (football) communities”.
The course promises to be an excellent experience for all the participants. Already discussions are heating up about commercialisation of and in the sport and professional football. A quote from Rodolfo Canavesi: “Traffic Sports exist not for the love of football, but because someone realised that it is good business, articulates fully where I believe those of us involved with the game locally needs to focus our energies.”