Sajad Akram - Shardlow United and Normanton Allstars

Coach in the Spotlight

The latest installment of Coach in the Spotlight focuses on Sajj Akram from Shardlow United and Normanton Allstars.

Every two months we bring you an interview with one of our dedicated coaches to provide you with insight into their football and coaching experience. Who knows, you could feature in the next article or it may even encourage you to give coaching a try!

How did you get into football?

When I was 6, my dad left and I remember being really upset. So my mum went out and bought a football from the corner shop. I spent every day kicking the ball in the    garden, against the wall, chucking it in the air etc., and instantly loved having a football at my feet!

When did you start coaching?

In 2002 my brother and his friends decided to set up Normanton Allstars FC, to get local kids off the streets, and give them an activity they could all enjoy. I got into it in the same year, helping out with the training. 

What coaching courses have you completed?

I have completed the FA Level 1&2 in Coaching Football. FA Youth Module, Coerver  Youth Diploma and FA Mentoring Adults.

Have your coaching qualifications helped outside of football?

The coaching qualifications have helped me with job interviews and finding work, as they are seen as a good indication of being active. I recommend all coaches look into taking the courses, and also recommend the FA Level 1 to all school leavers that hold an interest in football.

What are your coaching aspirations?

My coaching aspirations are to coach kids from all backgrounds, regardless of race, religion, gender etc., from an early age so they can see each other as equals. It upsets me when adults are derogatory towards the women’s game in particular, so I want parents and children to get on board the FA Football for ALL message, and encourage all our kids to try the beautiful game. 

The best thing about coaching is………….

Seeing the smiles on the kids faces when they have 'success' in training or matches. This could be tackling a player to win the ball, being able to do a turn/skill, scoring a goal or even passing the ball to a team mate!

Who are your role models within football? 

The coaches I most admire or have followed are Horst Wein, Wiel Coerver, Bill Bestwick and Renee Muelensteen. I feel their coaching methods and philosophies are a perfect mix of how I would coach and want to be coached.

Any advice for anyone wanting to get into coaching? 

Don’t hesitate! Contact local clubs and ask if you can pop down to watch a session, and get some tips. Speak to as many coaches as possible, as views and opinions differ greatly. Speak to your local County FA  about opportunities, help & advice. I have had immense support from Derbyshire FA and they are always very helpful! I would also advise joining social media coaching groups for further contacts. Finally, create a coaching philosophy so you know which direction you want to go in.  


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