Thursday , May 23 2024

Star-studded 3rd AFC National Coaches Conference 2024 ends on high note!

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s Vision to ensure the success of the Continent’s teams and players reached yet another milestone when the highly anticipated 3rd AFC National Coaches Conference 2024 concluded successfully on Thursday in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

Elite coaches and their technical staff from across Asia came together to devise a blueprint for the way forward for Asian teams against the backdrop of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 which concluded earlier this year.

The opening day included an overview of the performance of back-to-back champions Qatar, with valuable insights from the likes of 2015 AFC Asian Cup™ champion and Chief Sports Officer of Qatar’s Aspire Academy Tim Cahill, and former Spain international and Qatar assistant coach Luis Garcia Fernandez.

The three-day conference returned on Wednesday with Qatar Football Association (QFA)’s Director of Football Development Fahad Thani Al-Zarraa presenting an in-depth study of the rising trends that were noticed among the participating teams at the Continental showpiece in comparison to the preceding edition in 2019 as well as the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Key highlights of this technical discussion included the strategic use of centre-backs by several teams, the increased importance of counter-attacks, and the maintenance of both mental and physical well-being of players to avoid conceding goals during additional time.

The programme also featured an informative presentation from Thailand head coach Masatada Ishii, who previously guided Buriram United to Thai Premier League titles in 2022 and 2023. During this session, the former midfielder shared his journey from being appointed as head coach of the War Elephants with a limited timeframe to leading them to a Round of 16 finish in the AFC Asian Cup™.

Additionally, the conference hosted an engaging dialogue focusing on the forthcoming expanded FIFA World Cup 2026. The discussion involved Australia’s Graham Arnold and Japan’s Hajime Moriyasu, who were joined by former FC Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder and Saudi Arabia assistant head coach Yaya Toure in an illustrious line-up.

Yet another highlight of the event was the panel discussion with head coaches Branko Ivankovic (China), Igor Stimac (India), and Jorn Andersen (Hong Kong, China) where the experts exchanged ideas on the ways to bridge the gap between developing teams and the traditional powerhouses in Asia.

“With the AFC Asian Cup taking place only a few months ago, this event has given us a much needed opportunity to share our learnings and prepare for the future. It is especially beneficial for the developing Member Associations to hear from some of the best minds in the game as it gives them further encouragement to strive for excellence,” said Malaysia head coach Kim Pan-gon.

India’s Stimac added: “I am really glad to see the AFC National Coaches Conference return for the third time. It has given us the chance to voice our opinions, share our ideas and analyse past competitions together. After all, we are all here for the same purpose: to see Asian football reach greater heights.”

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