The championships will be held from December 1-10, 2011 and Miller said that he was impressed by the “good” tactical and technical ability of the region’s coaches, but added that there was room for improvement in certain other areas.
The Irishman, who wrote a technical report for COSAFA on the 2010 edition of the Youth Championships, also praised the sides that made it to the last four of that tournament, including Zimbabwe.
“I thought the four teams that made it through to the semi-finals last year, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Madagascar, were technically very good and certainly had some very gifted players,” said Miller. “The challenge now is to try and get these youngsters to the next stage of their careers.”
Miller was involved in trying to develop a structure for coaches and tutors so that they can obtain their CAF coaching qualifications, in a bid to grow the pool of qualified coaches in the region.
“COSAFA came on board last year and asked me to speak to the coaches during the 2010 Metropolitan COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championships. I did, and one of the things that came out of that was a genuine desire to have a proper coaching course for the Under-20 coaches this year. We have been running that this week.”
One of the topics on the course was on how to nurture young talent on and off the pitch.
“Where there is knowledge lacking is in the psychological or mental aspects of the game, and things like nutrition. So we have psychologists coming in to work with the coaches, fitness specialists and so on. We also look at areas such as match and tournament analysis, how to identify problems in a game and remedy the situation.”
He emphasised the need for more Southern African countries to qualify for continental and world competitions.
“I think you are moving in the right direction, but you need the Southern African sides to be qualifying more regularly for continental championships and for World Cups,’ he added. “That competition and exposure will drive the standard even higher. Look at the Botswana senior national side – they have qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, but they need to be going to the tournament again in 2013, 2015 and so on to keep improving as a football nation. I certainly believe there are the coaches here in the region, as well as the players, so it is about putting the whole package together.”Post published in: Football