Fifa instructor Heredia warns of the struggles facing goalkeepers when football returns

Fifa and Caf goalkeeper training instructor Alejandro “Alex” Heredia says the ‘keepers face serious challenges in their bid to regain full sharpness when football eventually resumes due to the specialised nature of their craft.

Heredia‚ who is a former Bafana Bafana‚ Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper coach‚ said the static training that goalkeepers are doing at the moment is only a small part of what they are supposed to be doing under normal circumstances.

“It is difficult to create all the drills with static training at home because goalkeeping is highly specialized. For now they can do static work but it is only 10 to 15 percent of the full actions that are needed for a goalkeeper‚” said Heredia.

“Static work like bouncing the ball against the wall is what you can do in your backyard and living room or you can ride a bicycle to keep fit.

“But recreating game situations at training is the important part they are missing. On a daily basis at training‚ coaches work with goalkeepers on things like reactions under pressure from strikers‚ reflexes‚ receiving high balls under pressure‚ organising the defence under pressure‚ dealing with set-pieces and practicing goal kicks and general distribution. Unfortunately‚ at the moment they are not doing that.

“For an example‚ when it comes to distribution‚ you need to release the ball at someone who is on the other side of the field in a game situation and get it right.

“That is the part that is really missing at the moment because you can’t do that in your living room or in your backyard. I am sure that coaches are working with the players on static training which is good‚ but the goalkeepers need to interact with other players.

“A goalkeeper needs someone shooting at him or her‚ needs to be challenged with aerial balls‚ needs to be faced with one-on-one situations because those are the basics of goalkeeper training.”

Heredia‚ who runs goalkeeper education for Fifa and Caf on the continent‚ added that ‘keepers are going to need at least three weeks of training to get back to the level they where at before the season was suspended.

“To reach the standard they were on before we closed‚ goalkeepers will need at least three weeks to catch-up‚” he said.

“Coaches will need to accelerate their training programmes so that they can return to the standard where they can play competitive football again.

“If we go back to playing football soon‚ there is a risk of low performances and injuries. You can do things in the gym to avoid injuries but football is a contact sport.”

– TimesLIVE

Source: ARENA Holdings.