In a month where much debate has focused on how to improve the English football, it was refreshing to hear Brazilian World Cup star, Oscar Bernardi, speak of his appetite to learn the English coaching way.
Oscar, who played in three World Cups on his way to winning 60 international caps and was part of the side 1982 side known as the ‘the greatest team never to win a World Cup’ featuring Brazilian greats Socrates and Zico, recently attended The FA’s International Licence course at St George’s Park with 22 candidates from eleven different countries around the world.
The Samba star revealed that it was his admiration for English football that proved to be the major driving force behind his decision to sign up for the two week long course.
“I was very curious to know what England is doing because what is happening now in England, I think, is the best football at the moment,” he explained.
“I wanted to know how they develop the players and how they train. So this is the reason I came here.”
The former São Paulo star, regarded as the lynchpin in the Brazil side of the late 70s and 80s, went on to stress that Brazil’s coaches would benefit from learning more about footballing methodologies of these shores.
“In Brazil everything is different, both in teaching and in training,” he explained.
“But in my opinion Brazilian coaches need to learn about football from The FA because there are so many good suggestions and so many good exercises for training.”
The International Licence candidates were provided with an overview of The FA’s Future Game philosophy, the changing trends of the modern game and an insight into both The FA’s core coaching course strand and the bespoke FA Youth Award strand which aims to qualify specialist youth coaches.
Fellow candidate Taku Niebo from Papua New Guinea, spoke enthusiastically about how the opportunity to experience and observe how English coaches are developing young players was simply too good to turn down.
“In Papua New Guinea, we see English football as a leading football nation,” explained Niebo.
“This was an opportunity we wanted to take with both hands to come to England and learn as much as possible about how the English develop the game.”
Interestingly, when discussing the benefits of The FA International Licence there is a consistent theme of its value not being centred purely on their own individual development.
Instead there is keener sense of how developing football nations can harness the skills necessary to make significant step changes to the football development initiatives in their respective countries.
Niebo added: “[The FA International Licence] has given me insight to go and start developing programmes in Papua New Guinea.
“I have learnt a lot from this course about how to assist our players, our coaches and to make sure the game can develop to a standard where we can compete internationally.”
For Ugandan coach, Haruna Kebba, he too sought the depth of knowledge on offer, not only from The FA coaches but also the array of experience from the other candidates, to strengthen his capacity to positively affect football on his return.
“First of all I have enjoyed it a lot because there is a lot of the knowledge I have acquired for the couple of weeks we have been here.
“I have met people from Brazil, I have interacted with them and exchanged philosophies and ideas.
“I have met people from Japan, I have talked to them and I can now see how they play the game and then obviously, needless to say what is done here in Europe.
“So it is a very big experience and big challenge for me when I go back to our association and talk to them about this and pass on the knowledge.”
The FA International Licence course at St. George's Park included six candidates selected as part of The FA’s Bursary scheme.
The scheme provides successful applicants with funding for course fees, flights and accommodation.