"This is the best, most interesting course I have attended," said one delegate after the latest UEFA Pro Licence Student Exchange Course was staged in Nyon.
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"This is the best, most interesting course I have attended. For the students it has been a unique experience."
That sentiment was expressed by Bernhard Lippert, technical director of the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA), at the end of the course in Nyon which brought down the curtain for the calendar year on the UEFA student exchange programme for coaches who are studying for their UEFA-endorsed Pro licence.
The four-day event represented a milestone for the Georgian Football Federation (SFF), which was running a Pro licence course for the first time. "We are proud to have reached this level," commented SFF coach education director Gaioz Darsadze. "And it makes me happy to see Georgian coaches developing before my eyes. Apart from receiving a great deal of invaluable information, my coaches felt human warmth and were able to take confidence from being part of the UEFA family."
Pro licence students from Albania and FYR Macedonia completed the squad list for the four-day course described by FYR Macedonia head of coach education Nebojsa Markovski as "an enriching, interactive learning event at which we were very grateful for guidance and advice from tutors with a great deal of experience".
The tutors who contributed to the cocktail of presentations and practical training sessions at the final event of the year were Packie Bonner (Republic of Ireland), Jacques Crevoisier (France), Jim Fleeting (Scotland), Werner Mickler (Germany), Nico Romeijn (Netherlands), Peter Rudbæk (Denmark) and Howard Wilkinson (England), with support from former Everton FC and Manchester United FC manager David Moyes.
"As a coach, you have to keep looking for more," Moyes told the student coaches. "More information, more experience … You have to be aware of what's happening elsewhere. I'm grateful for the time and guidance that people gave me when I was a young coach and it's important to give something back. That's why these courses are so valuable in terms of developing leadership qualities, a coaching philosophy and tools which will help you to find a way to win."
The UEFA coach education project will continue with a 17th Pro Licence Student Exchange Course scheduled to take place in May 2015.