SAFA instructor Abubakaar “Boebie” Williams says grassroots development should be conducted throughout the country and should not be a once-off event. Williams is currently conducting a training course for aspiring coaches..

SAFA instructor Abubakaar “Boebie” Williams says grassroots development should be conducted throughout the country and should not be a once-off event. Williams is currently conducting a training course for aspiring coaches through the SAFA Grassroots and Live Your Goals training programme in Mossel Bay, Western Cape.

Grassroots is an activity for children between the ages of six and 12 where they are taught basics as a way of introducing them to the game of football.

“Grassroots is very important because it is the basis of coaching, it is the basis of knowing how children behave in their age groups – this means coaches are immeditealy aware of what they have to do in various age agroups. They know how to organise, they solve organisational problems, so grassroots is key. Grassroots is from 6 – 12 years where they are taught basic motor qualities and basic technical exercises, tactics will appear later,” said Williams.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) has been running this programme for a couple of years around the country and these are held a few months apart.

“We have to change the way we do things because if you don’t know where to start, you will end up not knowing where to go, so here we give the coaches a start to follow a certain pattern in order to improve the performances of the children. But it has to be a continuous programme and in that way it will yield better results and we will have more kids growing up into, and learning from proper structures,” added Williams.

The programme uses a two-pronged approach where they teach coaches who are new to coaching, but with the bigger picture being the children. Most of the coaches attending the programme have never done a coaching course before.

“When the coaches come to us they know basically nothing, so they get to learn and see how things are done. Learning takes place by looking, hearing, talking, doing and evaluating. So the coaches learn proper things from the word go and soon they will have the confidence to go to schools and to small clubs in their communities to impart their knowledge – and soon, with enough support, some of them will be more interested in the profession and go for higher qualifications. Yes, they know nothing now but after five days they are able to go home and plan in order to perform the skills they got here,” said Williams.

“We are using a two-pronged approach where we teach the coaches to impart the knowledge to the kids, and I have seen they appreciate what we are giving them, they are very enthusiastic. For learning purposes there is the inductive method – where they show you, and deductive method – where we show them. So we are giving them two most important methods of dealing with children. The bottom line is that grassroots development is the way to go because this is where we start – many of us coaches did not start here that’s why we don’t know where we are.”

On Saturday, 25 February there will be a football festival for children to wrap up the training programme, where the coaches will showcase what they have learnt.

About 200 children are expected to attend.

The SAFA Grassroots Programme goes hand in hand with the Live Your Goals programme – a FIFA-sanctioned project aimed at aiding member associations as they strive to create awareness and to develop football for girls and women in their respective countries.


Williams Fact File:

  • Williams has a coaching career spanning over 40 years
  • Started coaching at age 16 at Coronation High in Johannesburg – coached Cardiff City in Ennerdale while he was in Grade 11
  • Was Football Advisor for UWC
  • Has coached various National Teams – u12, u17, u20
  • Coached Manning Rangers and was Head of Youth at Ajax Cape Town.

The well-travelled coach holds numerous coaching licenses which includes CAF A license, DFB A license and KNVB YOUTH/INSTRUCTOR license and FC Copenhagen International Coaching Course, to mention a few.

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