Tuesday, January 19, 2021

In Dr Braun, has Botswana football found a game changer?

By Botlhale Koothupile

Botswana football may have finally found a game changer with the arrival of German expert Dr Carolin Braun into the shores of the country.

Unlike any other expert before, Dr Braun is not just a qualified woman football expert! She is an extremely qualified sports expert and more importantly, the best Botswana football could have asked for.

It therefore comes as no surprise that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Secretariat along with Technical Director Serame Letsoaka and the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) opted for Dr Braun where they could have selected any other person for the job.

As it stands, the BFA were given a choice of three men for the expert they wanted, two men and a woman, being Dr Braun.

“All the three candidates were qualified. However, Dr Braun stood out among them, not just because she was a woman but because her profile was outstanding,” a source informed the Sunday Standard.

And it is indeed interesting. Dr Braun, who is an international coach educator and instructor, holds a UEFA A coaches licence. She is a coach for the Under 11 ÔÇô 14 boys with the German Talent Promotion Programme, the Technical Chairperson and coach of the German Female Student National team holds a PhD in Sport Sciences.

The BFA chief executive officer (CEO), Mfolo Mfolo says the arrival of the German expert will strengthen the association’s development programmes.

“What stood out about her CV was that it was in line with the BFA’s youth development policies and aspirations,” Mfolo explained.

Mfolo said the German expert’s arrival comes at a time when the association needs qualified coaches to drive BFA’s robust development programmes, citing that qualified coaches are the cornerstone of successful sports development programmes.

The BFA has already laid down a framework for grassroots and youth development programmes, which have been approved by football’s world governing body, FIFA.

“You have to remember that prior to Dr Braun, we had another German expert Mr Christoph Rocholl who came here to undertake a feasibility study. In his report, Rocholl said the main problem with Botswana’s football development aspirations is shortage of coaches. This is one of the gaps which Dr Braun will plug,” the BFA CEO opined.

Mfolo said given Dr Braun’s professional experience in youth sports development and in particular football, there can be no doubt that the BFA have found what it needed in her.

Before taking the Botswana job, Dr Braun was the Head of Football in the Department of Sport and Health Sciences at the Technical University of Munich (UTM).

According to her Curriculum Vitae, as the Head of Football, she was ‘in charge of practical and theoretical education in football at the UTM.

While in this role, it is stated that she was ‘responsible for overall coordination and development of cooperation in football activities/programs in football with, among others, Bayern Munich, regional sports clubs and various departments of the German Football Association (DFB) where she worked with the DFB Talent Development Programme.

Prior to working at UTM, Dr Braun was the Head of Research and Cooperation in Football at the Institute of Sport and Sport Sciences at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), a very institution where she studied for her Doctorate in Sport Sciences.

At KIT, she was also the Head of Tennis and she taught courses in football, tennis, Biomechanics, motor leaning and training as well as didactics and communication. Her Doctorate study at KIT was on ‘Motor Learning, Feedback and Observational Learning in School Children.’

Internationally, Dr Braun has worked with the Gambia Football Federation, having been sent there by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) on a short term project as German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (AA), DFB as a junior expert.

She is also a well published researcher in Sports Sciences, with her contributions published in reputed Sports Science publications such as Movement: Journal of Physical Education and Sports Sciences as well as Nova Science Publishers, just to mention but two. She has also been a speaker in various Sports Science workshops in Germany as well as abroad in Finland and Israel.

“Dr Braun is more than a coach. She is an expert and she is very well versed in sport development. Our intention is to tap into her expertise and equip our youth development coaches. What we want is that when her time here comes to an end, we should have coaches capable of doing what she does,” he said.

With Letsoaka already working as the BFA Technical Director, Mfolo said the German expert will be working hand in hand and he expects no clash of roles between the two.

“We however expect Dr Braun to concentrate on Coach Education, grassroots development and women football among others,” Mfolo said.

While the country has youth football development coaches, the BFA CEO said there some essential skills they do not possess which they will learn from Dr Braun.

Some of the skills expected to be passed to local coaches include motor learning and training and sports psychology, skills which are not so entrenched locally.

To ensure grassroots development programmes get the maximum benefit from her, Mfolo said expectation is that Dr Braun will also work with coaches at Primary schools, which is where most of grassroots development take place.

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