The increase of qualified coaches at amateur level is on the rise with the South African Football Association (SAFA) going on an extensive countrywide rollout of coaching courses.

SAFA recently partnered with amateur league sponsors, SAB to host a SAFA//CAF C Licence coaching course in Pretoria where 52 coaches from the different SAFA regions were invited for the 10-day course.

As an incentive for the top performing coach, SAFA awarded Michael Setlhalogile from Brits in Pretoria a unique opportunity of being a part of a national training camp with the World Cup bound Amajita squad.
The SAB League title chasing coach took time of his busy schedule to catch up with SAFA Media to share his experience with the SA U20 side.

SAFA Media: Firstly, tell us your background, how did you get into coaching?

Michael Sethalogile:I started playing football from a very young age until I got an injury in my mid-twenties. Because I loved football so much, I could not just leave the sport and that is when I decided to become a coach.

There was a club called Bambelela FC where I started off as an assistant coach for about four years before taking up the role of head coach at different clubs.

I then enrolled for a SAFA D Licence where I got invaluable knowledge which eventually showed in the junior teams that I coached as we started winning tournaments back home.

In 2015, I was appointed head coach of Captains Eleven FC where I am currently coaching. In my short period there, I led the club to the play offs of the ABC Motsepe League where we narrowly lost out a place in the ABC Motsepe League.

SAFA Media:You were part of the recently held SAB League Skills Camp, how did you find the course?

MS:The course was a real eye-opener for someone like me who has a passion for football. As challenging and difficult some of the tasks were, it was quite a good course for aspiring coaches like myself.

The instructors were highly qualified and shared their knowledge and experience with us throughout the 10-day course. As tough and demanding as it was, it really helped us realise that coaching involves a lot of planning and hard work which is something we tend to take for granted.

I am a better coach now and this is also showing in the way in which my team is responding to the various coaching methods and training that I have learnt from the course.

SAFA Media: You now have a SAFA/CAF accredited coaching certificate, what does this mean to you as an aspiring coach?

MS: This is something I truly cherish and want to use it to help develop football back home. We have a lot of talent in our communities but not having qualified coaches who are able to nurture our talent contributes to the huge loss of talent in the country.

Not all of us will coach big teams in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) but we can use our skills and knowledge to help development football at amateur level. If it happens one day that I coach a big club then it will be a bonus but my passion is with identifying and nurturing young talent.

SAFA Media: Tell us what went through your mind when you got the call that you would be part of the U20 National Team training camp?

MS: I was at home late when I got the call late in the afternoon. I was so excited and couldn’t believe that I had been invited to a training camp with the likes of Thabo Senong, Molefi Ntseki and Helman Mkhalele.

I told my family about it and they could not believe it. It is one of those moments in life that I will never forget.

 SAFA Media: As the top performing student, you had the unique opportunity of being part of the SA U20 training camp was this something you thought you would achieve?

There are so many highlights that I have experienced as a young aspiring coach but being a part of a national team camp will certainly go down in my life as one of my career highlights.

I also need to highlight the fact that this was not just any other training camp but this is being part of the U20 FIFA World Cup preparations for one of the four nations that will be representing the African continent. It doesn’t really matter where the team finishes in Korea but I am just thankful to God that I was a part of this.

I learnt a lot from the technical stuff but I also learnt a lot from these talented boys who are so passionate about representing their nation.

I never thought I would be part of such a wonderful initiative and I need to thank SAFA for giving me such an opportunity.

SAFA Media: Tell us about your time in the U20 camp, how did you find rubbing shoulders with the likes of Thabo Senong, Molefi Ntseki and Helman Mkhalele?

M.S: These are people that I have always admired from a distance and for SAFA to grant me the opportunity to be a part of such a training camp is truly amazing. The technical stuff was very welcoming from the opening day.

I remember coach Thabo’s words to me on the opening day of the course where he said to me “Coach you are here to learn but we are also hoping to learn from you. Football is about the sharing of information so get as much information from everyone but we are also hoping to get as much knowledge from you as well”

Those words just made me feel comfortable and relaxed and I am thankful to coach Thabo and his technical team for making me feel welcome.

All three coaches have a very good knowledge of the game and I learnt quite a lot with them.

SAFA Media: You are now a qualified coach and had a unique experience of being part of the Amajita squad, how has the community back home in Brits responded to your achievements?

Everyone back home is proud of what I have done. I have become a beacon of hope back home to young coaches and players and this would not have been possible had it not been for SAFA and sponsors, SAB.

I have become a role model in my community and this has inspired me to keep on working hard to help improve football at home

SAFA Media: To young aspiring coaches like yourself, what would you like to say to them?

To aspiring coaches from my community and the rest of the country, I would like to encourage aspiring coaches not just from my community but across the country to keep working hard and not undermine the contribution they are making wherever they are.

Leagues such as the SAB League and ABC Motsepe league have been put in place by SAFA to ensure that aspiring coaches, players, referees and administrators have the opportunity to develop their talent and skills for the benefit of the nation.

We need to keep working hard and use each and every opportunity presented to us so that we can also be rated amongst the best on the continent and the rest of the world.