Thabo Senong reflects on new Johan Cruyff coaching diploma and targets export rate increase

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Senong was accepted into the esteemed coaching institute earlier this year and has been seeing out the course over the past seven months, before graduating earlier this month.

Speaking to snl24.com/kickoff following his return to South Africa, the former Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates development coach has outlined what he learnt abroad.

“The course duration was seven months, which was divided into three weekly blocks while there were obviously also some individual coaching sessions via Skype,” Senong said.

“Because you need practical experience to take part in the course, I had to submit my Amajita work. It was a hard seven months, but I think the support I got from the players and Amajita coaching staff helped me a lot.

“There were many interesting things I picked up relating to the constant evolution in football – one of our essential needs as coaches is to continue upgrading ourselves.

“It was not about me going to Netherlands to take their coaching approaches, but it was about refining my own coaching style in the specific environment I’m in and the quality of players at my disposal.

“I graduated on September 8 and then I was invited to Club Brugge in Belgium for a week-long internship, just to attach what I learnt on the course with a hands-on experience.”

Senong further explained the benefits of visiting the Belgian giants, as he articulated his deep desire to increase the number of South African player exports to European leagues.

“Brugge have one of the best development structures in Belgium and the club is massive, so I felt it would be good to go and pick up a couple of things from their training and matches.

“Because, let’s be honest, our number of exports [from South Africa] is very low and it’s important to understand why, hence I build up these networks so that I understand what they are looking for.

“This helps when we work with our young players here at home so that we know how to prepare them [for European moves]. It’s my wish to increase the number of exports, but they can only go abroad if they know what is expected of them.”