The respective football federations in the region have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Majority of the officials involved in the sport across the region tend to be 50 years and up barely making room for individuals to take over the backend roles that exist within the organization. We are all aware of how working through the ranks, from an administrative level to the managerial, within any organization only provides experience to possibly become the next President of the FA – that is if your ambitions are aimed at that height.

Unfortunately, the rite of passage for aged individuals at managerial positions within Middle Eastern federations continues to show reliance on the same philosophy, which ignores introducing in younger blood who could take the organization in the direction that the future holds.

In Asia, the Japanese FA is a very good example when it comes to following a structure. Last year, the FA appointed ex-international defender – 39-year-old Tsuneyasu Miyamoto to its organization at a managerial level after he retired from the game. The FA had assisted Miyamoto on receiving a Master’s degree from FIFA’s very own Graduate programs. Moreover, Miyamoto was also part of a group that was provided training towards earning a coaching license.

Yet, when it comes to the Middle East, the only way young individuals could most likely make their way into the FA is if they happen to know someone or know someone who knows someone. In a better word synonymous with the region – ‘Wasta’. Many lack proper education or any, and if they do, it belongs to a period when football in the region was at its infant stages.

And then there are many among them who still believe in the importance of experience but do not comprehend the fact that experience only comes once you give an individual the opportunity to learn and grow. Unfortunately, the Arab federations are far adrift from the modern world of how managerial sports is practised – based on education, community integration in football via social responsibility and more importantly, to nurture/capture the spirit of the young men and women who are well acclimatized with the changes of recent times where all you see is digital.

Finally, to put emphasis on the point, I do respect our elderly because their status to us is that of our fathers and grandfathers, but it is important to understand that their time or version of ‘good time’ remains absolutely different from ours and ours will remain different from the following generations to come, especially in football based on how football is quickly transforming.

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