More than three weeks have passed since Italy won UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 in Belgium. The sport remains high on the UEFA agenda with Italy taking centre stage again as the Novarello Sports Centre-Villaggio Azzurro, owned by Novara Calcio, hosted the second UEFA Futsal Coach Education pilot seminar.
The event followed the initial pilot seminar organised in 2013 in Las Rozas, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) complex near Madrid. The objective of the latest four-day seminar was to show how the fundamental elements of a UEFA Futsal B licence course could be applied at national level.
The course programme was based on the guidelines stipulated within the UEFA Coaching Convention. Specialist coach education is a key aspect of the UEFA technical sector's activities and the Novarello event, arranged in collaboration with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), was attended by 31 participants representing 17 European national associations.
These delegates took part in the theoretical and practical sessions run by the distinguished futsal working group set up by UEFA, and operating under the supervision of the UEFA Jira Panel, featuring Italy coach Roberto Menichelli, Spain coach José Venancio López, his predecessor Javier Lozano and Portugal boss Jorge Braz. There were also sessions with Massimo Cumbo, FIFA referee instructor, Italy fitness coach Valerio Viero and Spain goalkeeping coach César Arcones.
"There is a crucial involvement on the part of UEFA, which brings its professionalism," said Menichelli, who presented on 'Individual skills in game situations' at the seminar. "Having established a working group which provides orientation and organises the format of these meetings gives me great satisfaction," added the coach who led Italy to glory in Antwerp last month.
"Education in the coming years will contribute more and more to producing qualified futsal coaches in Europe," Menichelli continued. "During these three or four days, we have wanted to support participants in tracing a path which can lead to them organising courses in their countries. The trend is to standardise the minimum criteria of the courses within UEFA, like in [11-a-side] football: this is a very important initiative that will bring further development for futsal."
Venancio López, meanwhile, spoke about teaching methods, systems of play and fundamentals of tactics, tactical skills, offensive and defensive transitions, and set pieces. "It's more than a year since UEFA started working on the education of futsal coaches," said the coach who steered Spain to third place at UEFA Futsal EURO 2014. "There was a huge rise in terms of quality, because we have more and more associations interested in the implementation of the courses. It's crucial for the development of the discipline: in order to have better players, we must have better coaches."
Lozano, who developed the theme of futsal knowledge, highlighted how one can perceive "the desire to discover futsal and the desire to improve". For this reason, he said: "UEFA's involvement is vital, because everything in which UEFA is interested acquires quality. Futsal coaching was a dream that is coming true."
According to Braz, who talked about 'Organising and managing a futsal training session', "a decisive step to improve the futsal movement in Europe has been made". The Portuguese added: "UEFA's involvement in bringing improvements to futsal coaching in Europe will be crucial and extremely beneficial."
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