1 – Starting age of playing football:
Football clubs in the Arab Counties offer kids football classes at the age of 6 or 7 wherein the European counties children are starting their football learning journey at the age of 2 years. Although a lot of private academics began these programs in countries like UAE, Oman, Qatar, and KSA unlike other countries we need to see more kids involved with football coaching at a very young age for example in the UAE most kids are 6 years old when playing in the clubs.
2 – An organized pathway between the school competitions and the Arab Clubs
In most of the countries that have developed good sports teams other than football teams, there are many advantages to starting with school and club competition. Arab counties often lack these qualities compared to other countries, as there are ongoing competitions for the kids, however there is no time where the actual football association is scouting the players. In my experience, I have seen football clubs organize some coaches or a sports teacher similar to private work to look for good optional players in the school which I believe this is a better option and the right way. The football association should help to organize a better interschool competition system and make sure to push physical education in the schools as it is a vital subject.
3 – Tables of results at the youth football competition
Often Football clubs in Arab countries care more about the results in the youth football competition and are interested to see which team will be on the top of the table at the end of the season. This pressure is creating an adverse effect on the players and the coaches. The children at this stage should join the club to learn and have fun, otherwise putting immense pressure on these players and youth coaches results in kids dropping out of the football games. Coaches are then under pressure as having only a certain number of players to use in games and not giving a chance to other players to play. In real life nobody in the world can guess the future of the kids, mistakes have also happened with top football clubs like Barcelona. In Barcelona coaching staff had given up on Jordi Alba and sold him when he was in the youth football team, however they had to buy him back as he developed as one of the best full-backs in the world. In most European counties there are no more tables for the youth league. The aim is to let the kids play football for enjoyment and to let them get the experience rather than focusing on winning or losing games. The European football clubs concentrate on the performing teamwork fitness side, healthy lifestyle, listening skills, independence which is more important than being the first on the league. The aim of the youth academy is to make sure every year two to three good players play with the first team that has the same philosophy of the club.
4 – Coaching course
The Football Association needs to run more professional coaching courses for coaches to increase the number of quality coaches that will effectively develop more players. For example, in Iceland which is a tiny county where the weather conditions are a lot harder than the UAE they have built 16 indoor Football venues that the government has paid for. This is so every child has the opportunity to join football classes and every coach has the opportunity to undertake professional development and coaching courses. Now every 600 people living in Iceland have a qualified Football coach. In the UAE because of the hot weather during 5 months of the year, the children have training for only around seven months. This shorter time is affecting their development of football skills as the children are not active for five months of the year. In my opinion, every football club should be investing more with building Indoor football venues for all their young teams and they should be concentrating on running football camps and regular football training during the summer time when the children are on holidays as this will be an excellent time for the kids to develop their football skills. There is another excellent example of countries that have changed their strategy in football coaching after England failed to place in the last two world cups. The UK wants more coaches to have a UEFA license and A license as they found that in Spain the number of people that have UEFA coaches is a lot of higher than England. The UK want more coaches to participate in more organized Professional development for all coaches and even run online courses for coaches that could not attend the lessons. The Arab Football Association needs to work on a long-term strategies with the clubs, and the community, to try to improve the coaching level which helps the player to develop their potential, tactically and be ready to play football at a higher standard.
5 -Youth League
Most of the Gulf nations at the moment have many ex-patriate children that are living there and clubs should be using the benefits of these kids in their leagues. These ex-patriate children should be training with the local kids of the clubs as they will help the Arab players to learn the good habits of eating and sleeping well, listening to instructions and being a good team player. The western kids are a part of the clubs and open the club for all the expats to be part of each country youth programs like other European counties. If you look at the French national team for example most of the players come from different backgrounds that are not originally French. I believe the Arab countries should try to organize International Football tournaments to be held in the Arab countries. They should concentrate on the youth generation to give them the experience and try to play friendly games with the top clubs in the world. The important point is that Arab players need to be exposed to other forms of strategies that can help develop good habits in players.
6 – Adult league
The Football Association should try to push more for their nation to watch the league football games and try to encourage the young generation to support their country league teams. The football association can try to accomplish this in two ways.
The football clubs could bring big stars that may be at the end of their career to play in the league, also having more than two expat players to be on the pitch. Perhaps governments need to support the clubs financially.
The High level of the country football league will improve the level of the National Football team. The clubs could send players to play in the European league. For example, KSA sent players to play in Spanish football teams. However, the mistake that happened in KSA this year was the national teams they were training with in football clubs in Spain were not playing regular football. Instead of buying a clubs in UK, France or Spain they should try to purchase clubs to make it easy for your national team player to be part of the club as this will help to play at the highest level. The national team players or the first team players visit the school more often, organize TV appearances in shopping centers and push the media to cover the football league news. People will be interested more to follow their own national and local team and then this will help the nation to discover better players.