04 October 2017 – As parents we all love our children and wish they become the best they can be. This can be in sports, arts or excellent school achievement. With all this love and  good intentions and wishes  for our children, does it ever cross our mind that somewhere someone may wish to turn  us into victims of his or her unscrupulous money making schemes hiding behind very attractive words and phrases such as “academies, overseas trips, connections with both PSL clubs and national coaches”?

These words and phrases are loaded with everything we as  parents in general, and our children in particular, wish to hear. They paint a picture of a shining future with unending possibilities. Yes possibilities which are well represented by the likes of international stars such as Christian Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Yaya Toure and many more that you know better than all of us.

It is true that coaches should by right earn a living when they apply their coaching skills either in developing future stars or working at performance level. It is equally true that there are good coaches with a dependable and proven reputation in their operationsareas. They have been honest with all the children that went through their training programmes.

In some cases they struggled to raise and coach those players  but still succeeded even without the expected support of the parents of the same children they were coaching. When such children went on to earn a decent income  or even became millionaires from football , such coaches often, and unfortunately so, became the forgotten  men and women as both the new heroes ( parent of the players) new heroes themselves (players) align themselves with the new hero (the agent) and hog the limelight.

But here the issue is how to protect yourself as a parent and your child from becoming the innocent “ATM” of an unscrupulous “coach”.

Take note of the following:

  1. Do you know the coach of your child to satisfy yourself that he/she is a coach?
  2. Did you ever have a face to face meeting with the coach?
  3. If so did you verify his/her coaching qualifications and experiences or relevance thereof with the South African Football Association (SAFA)?
  4. Is the coach of your child cleared by the police to interact with children, yours included? Put differently, do you have confirmation that the coach is not a danger to your child?
  5. Are you given regular feedback with regards to the progress of your child in football?
  6. Is your child given sufficient time to do school work well?
  7. If you are requested to pay, and you agree, are you sure you deposit your money for what is a worthy reason?
  8. Are you sure the account into which you deposit any football related money is satisfactorily verified?
  9. Are you given regular financial statements when you request them?
  10. Are you afforded a chance by, and with the coach, to meet with other parents of the players with whom your child plays football? Are players also allowed in such meetings to exchange ideas with their parents?

These are the simple questions that build on to complex questions which a concerned parent will continue to ask.

The next set of simple questions will touch on the technical signals or are they signs, of progress or lack of it where your child plays his or her football. The answers are more likely to be obtainable from your child who is involved with the coach every day. But as a parent you can also find other ways to obtain answers to them. One such means is to keep in direct contact with the South African Football Association.

SAFA Coaching Education