Following an illustrious playing career with 182 appearances for Orlando Pirates, one would think a player like Steve Lekoelea would easily walk into the dressing room of any South African club and share his football knowledge in the capacity of a coach.
However, this is not the view of the 40-year-old former midfielder who is in the process of completing his SAFA/KNVB D License coaching course.
“Chippa”, as the Sebokeng-born star is affectionately known, is among the 10 selected legends taking part in the life-changing programme that seeks to afford former footballers invaluable skills to boost their chances of employment while equipping them in making a difference in their communities.
Speaking on the sidelines of the second day of the course currently underway in Randburg, Lekoelea dismissed the notion of playing experience equalling the requirement of being a coach.
“Gone are the days where you just needed to play and understand football to become a coach. Sure, playing gives you that understanding of what goes on in the mind of a player but even that has evolved from the time we used to play” said Lekoelea.
“Unlike back in our playing days, there is so much to take into account when coaching and this starts as early as the grassroots phase. Nutrition, psychology, technology and so many factors come into play in modern football and this isn’t something that you get from playing.
“As former footballers, it is important for us to upskill ourselves by taking up such courses and implementing them back in our communities for our players to have the right foundation before graduating to professional ranks,” concluded Lekoelea.
The former Orlando Pirates star will forever hold a special place in the South African football history books as he is in the process of starting an academy for the youth in his hometown of Sebokeng.
This will produce several players with similar attributes to those he had as a player.
The third day of the workshop on Thursday will see former Mamelodi Sundowns coach and Dutch legend Johan Neeskens sharing his wealth of experience with the legends.
Neeskens will also be joined by Supersport United coach, Kaitano Tembo who has a strong history of youth development in coaching Supersport United academy since 2007 before taking up the role of assistant coach in 2012.