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Football: Fifa World Cup Africa qualifiers |09 October 2023

Football: Fifa World Cup Africa qualifiers

New sustainable approach in doing things

• Lead coach Ralph Jean-Louis sets out terms and conditions

Entering the 2026 Fédération internationale de Football Association Africa qualifiers, the Seychelles national selection will be adopting a more professional and sustainable approach, compared to the old way of doing things, lead coach Ralph Jean-Louis has said.

He made the statement yesterday, during a meeting of the national pre-selection, as part of the preparation for their first match against African giants Ivory Coast set to take place on November 13.

Coach Jean-Louis has been temporarily appointed as the lead coach for the first two qualifiers against Ivory Coast and Kenya.

The team are being managed by a caretaker committee which, other than coach Jean-Louis, is made up of Jonathan Paul (head of delegation), Basil Hoareau (assistant coach), Osama Haroun (technical support), Dylan Paul (liaison and communication officer), Michel Pierre (administration officer), along with three foreign experts who will bring their know-how in goalkeeping, video and field and osteopathy.

For the qualifiers, Seychelles will play in group F alongside Ivory Coast, Kenya, Burundi, Gabon and Gambia.

For the draw, the 54 Confederation of African Football (Caf) member associations were seeded in six pots and then drawn into nine groups, each consisting of six teams. The teams for the pots were seeded as per their Fédération internationale de Football Association(Fifa) world ranking with the highest ranked ones in pot 1 and the lowest in pot 6.

Seychelles were in pot 6 along with Lesotho, South Sudan, Mauritius, Chad, São Tomé and Príncipe, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia.

Coach Jean-Louis firstly explained that among the selected players – 60 altogether – some have been targeted for the qualifiers, while others are part of the future plan for the national selection as they will be nurtured by their more experienced teammates.

He explained that compared to before, from now on, there will be a set of criteria for players to be part of the national team, including physical and technical tests.

“We need players who do not stop playing when they are tired, but when it is over,” said coach Jean-Louis who added that a high percentage of emphasis will be put on fitness.

Coach Jean-Louis also noted that several elements including techniques and maximum force (gym sessions) should be carried on players on an individual basis, while proof should be provided.

With football being mostly dominated by technology, coach Jean-Louis explained that this will also be incorporated in the training for collection of accurate data which was previously being done manually.

This will include GPS that collect data on distances, speeds, or gadgets with built-in software to make strength assessments such as contact platforms, force gauges, among others.

He said the coaching and technical staff will be behind the players, providing all possible support, but at the end of the day, it will all depend on their own willingness, enthusiasm and eagerness to move forward by seizing all the opportunities to become better players.

“I am not here to motivate you, but rather to inspire you by providing opportunities to become good players,” noted coach Jean-Louis who won Seychelles’ only gold medal in the history of the Indian Ocean Islands Games (IOIG) in 2011 on home soil, after defeating Mauritius in a penalty shoot-out in the final.

The gold medal-winning coach also briefed the young players on goal setting in football, advising them to adopt an intrinsic approach – belonging to the real nature of a thing; not dependent on external circumstances – rather than an extrinsic one, with motivation arising from external factors, mainly monetary factor.

Coach Jean-Louis promised the players that if they work hard, their efforts will be well rewarded, but they will have to work their way towards it, and it will not be handed over to them on a plate.

Discipline is another area that coach Jean-Louis put a high percentage of emphasis on, noting that it will be a key element in determining who will, and who will be not part of the team.

He explained that basic, but meaningful habits are enough to illustrate the character of a player in terms of discipline.

He said, being part of the team, it is very important for players to behave properly and maintain a proper image for the team.

Other disciplinary areas including punctuality, self and team discipline, and also healthy eating are among the new elements which players called to the new national selection will have to get use to.

Coach Jean-Louis also encouraged the players to train regularly, and take football as a joyful activity, where they have the opportunity to learn, rather than focusing only on playing.

Regarding training allowance, coach Jean-Louis noted that it will not be provided anymore.

He explained that he was the one who initiated the idea about 20 years ago, but people have failed to grab the main concept behind.

He said the allowance of R25 at that time was mainly for bus fares and phone calls for players who were late, for one reason or another, but not payment to attend training sessions.

Coach Jean-Louis also promised the players that rewards and bonuses for winning matches will be very interesting.


Roland Duval

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