Performance analysis: Taking African football into the 21st century

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Diaa Salah talks about the significance of performance analysis in taking African football to the top of the global game

 


 PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS IN FOOTBALL: Diaa Salah


Football, like all sports, has been embedded with technology for everything from ticketing and entering stadiums to goal-line technology, and even player fitness, recovery and performance.

Performance analysis for football managers and players has evolved massively over the last 10 years and now includes indicators such as complete and incomplete passes, interceptions, crosses, areas covered, tackles won/lost, shots on/off, ball possession and much more.

Of course, this technology has been used in European leagues for a while, and the coaches and analysts use the data to the benefit of the team and the player. 


DATA IS THE KEY


Data is collected during each match. 

The coach and his team receives all figures of his team’s performance. Some coaches even refer to this data during the game and at half-time as well. 

This helps have a wider view of how his team has performed and which are the areas of improvement. He is now able to make decisions based on real and even realtime facts.

Opponent analysis provides a coach with insight into knowing his opponents weaknesses and strengths, playing styles, allowing him to adapt his players and game plan to face such opponent.

Players uses the data to know his own weaknesses and strengths, and makes him aware of areas of improvement and growth over time. 

As Business Development Manager in a performance analysis company in Egypt, our major challenge is to introduce the concept of performance analysis to football coaches, clubs and federations and increase the overall awareness of its importance. 

Most of the football clubs in Egypt, and around the region, are still being operated in an old-school style, with some are being operated by a single person who has total power and authority to take decisions and run the show on his own. In some cases, be it in Africa or the Middle East, coaches feel that their jobs are insecure if they depend on technology.

This creates some resistence to our approach of teaching clubs the modern way of club setup and management while introducing technology.


  CULTURE CHANGE                                                                                              


We have worked with several clubs in Egypt, such as Misr El-Makassa, Assiuty, Zamalek, also the Egyptian National team and major improvement has been noticed in their overall results.

Ehab Galal, Misr El-Makassa’s head coach has been one of our success stories in the Egyptian League. He has achieved second place in the league after only three years in the first division, and participated in the African Confederation Cup and will be in the African Champions League next season.

“Performance analysis is [a] very important tool in football, and I have been able to improve and change different tactics and game plans using this data.

It wasn’t easy at the beginning, but to me it is a must since all teams abroad use it and benefit from it, so why aren’t we doing the same” says Ehab.

 While there is some resistence from the older generation of coaches, the younger generation is showing an eagerness to learn and update their coaching techniques with data.

CIES Technology in Football

 

   THE FUTURE OF AFRICAN FOOTBALL  


There is a huge need for this technology in Africa.

If clubs are introduced to the importance of performance analysis, they will be able to be more focused on the development of their players in a more scientific way. 

This would not only benefit the development of players and teams, but could end up as a revenue channel for them in the future.

From my experiences in the football industry, this is a challenge and responsibility of each federation in order to educate and improve the quality of their coaches.

Surely this will have a huge return and impact in the future as it will improve the overall qualities of players, coaches and the national teams in the region.

 

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Diaa Salah has been involved in the beautiful football game for over 25 years as a player, Manager and also a Board of Directors Member of a First Division Football Club in Egypt. He has had various spells of playing and learning in Canada, Egypt and the UK.  After receiving his Fifa/CIES diploma in Sports Management, he moved into consultancy and advice to clubs in marketing and business. 

This article is brought to you in collaboration with the CIES NETWORK ALUMNI

 

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