Football coaches unite with new association

A collective body for Cayman’s football coaches is something that has been talked about for years. Now, it is moving forward with the support of the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA).

Spearheading the initiative is CIFA Director of Coaching, Ben Pugh. “When I got here there had been talk of there being a coaches association, so around December, I asked Alfredo if he was happy for me to set it up and he said ‘yes’,” Pugh, said in an interview with Cayman Sports Buzz.

In a letter to football stakeholders on 22 May, CIFA President Alfredo Whittaker stated: “CIFA is fully supporting the Coaches Association and we are happy that a good number of local coaches have submitted their applications and are members of the C.I. Coaches Association.”

Describing it as being been reasonably successful over the past six months since he got the green-light, Pugh said at least 81 coaches have signed up to become members. Part of the success for him is that coaches have not just been drawn from the CIFA senior leagues but from across the spectrum of teams across Cayman, including from church leagues and school leagues.

“We have an obligation to improve football all across the islands,” said Pugh. “We didn’t want it to be exclusive. We want it to be a platform for sharing ideas and we certainly don’t want to prevent anybody from improving, who wants to improve.”

Ben Pugh at a press conference after a CONCACAF Nations League match.
(Cayman Sports Buzz photo)

Pugh, who took over the reins of the senior men’s national team during the CONCACAF Nations League, said the grouping has become a good platform for sharing ideas, experiences and how different coaches are overcoming various challenges with their clubs and with their players.

“The idea behind it is to give the coaches something where they are working on their skills and knowledge. Most of the coaches here have not had a qualification and this is something that CIFA is working on,” Pugh said.

“There has not been a course held here in a long time and we are hoping in the next few months to have [entry level] CONCACAF D and C license courses delivered by Zoom and then when we resume [on the field] the assessors will come and do their assessments,” said Pugh, who holds a UEFA A license.

Included in the mix are around a half dozen senior national team players, who hope to benefit from opportunities to gain qualifications that will better position them to give back when their playing days are over.

“That’s the idea. You look at the national teams and, to me, there are not enough Caymanian coaches that work within the system. My vision is to try and upskill all coaches but try and get to a place where we can have [qualified] Caymanian coaches in charge of the national teams, so we are better prepared going forward,” said Pugh, who led the men’s national team to four wins in six games during the 2019/20 CONCACAF Nations League and just missed out (by goal difference to Barbados) on a shot for promotion from League C.

Meetings of the C.I. Coaches Association are taking place weekly via Zoom for the time being and membership is open to all interested parties. If you are interested, click the following link and sign up:

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.