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The introduction of a new, top-level football-coaching course in South Africa will see successful participants gaining the highest possible qualification in the country.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) have launched the Level 3 Pro Licence Coaching course.

Thirty five coaches, some of whom are mentoring in national premier football circles, have already started classes. They were selected from about 60 applicants and will complete the course by mid-July 2011.

“We are proud to be launching this course, as it is in line with the development that we are talking about all the time,” said SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani, according to MediaClubSouthAfrica.

“We have been developing players to perform better at the highest level, and in this instance, the coaches get to undergo a comprehensive high-level coaching construct,” he added.

Until recently the highest coaching qualification in South Africa was the SAFA Level 2 Coaching Certificate, which is equivalent to the Uefa A coaching licence.

SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt is the only South African with a direct Uefa A licence. After obtaining it in 2004, Hunt became the most successful football coach in the country with a series of a spectacular wins for his side.

Participants in the new programme include Manqoba Mngqithi who, at age 39, is one of the youngest coaches in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). Mngqithi mentors KwaZulu-Natal side Amazulu – the second team he’s coached in the league since 2007 after helping Golden Arrows win their first Cup in 2009.

The 44-year-old Steve Khompela, who trains Free State Stars, is also in the programme. Khompela has turned a pool of unknown footballers into a formidable team at Stars, and his boys’ theatrics have seen the side trounce champion teams like Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns in the current 2010/11 PSL season.

Doctor Khumalo, Thomas Madigage, Donald Khuse, Mandla Ncikazi and Sheryl Botes are some of the other well-known participants in the programme, as are former PSL teams head coaches Ian Palmer, Neil Tovey, Khabo Zondo and Farouk Khan. National under-23 coach Shakes Mashaba has also enrolled in the programme.

Durban-born Gordon Igesund, who currently trains Moroka Swallows, holds a record for being the only coach in South African football to lead four different teams to league championship. Igesund won the PSL with Pirates, Santos, Sundowns and the now-defunct Manning Rangers.

Safa has recognised the impact local coaches have had on the quality of the nation’s football. “Clearly our coaches are doing well and a Level 3 course of this nature will enhance the vast knowledge they have for the good of the country,” said Nematandani.

Many thanks to MediaClubSouthAfrica for this story.

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