Leading global online and gaming brand, Betway, has organised the second in a series of mentorship workshops in fulfilment of its role as the official development partner of the Ghana Women’s Premier League (GWPL).
About 50 managers and coaches from the GWPL clubs participated in the training programme, receiving both virtual and in-person instruction from two locations in Accra and Kumasi.
Matt Jones, a nutrition consultant for English Premier League (EPL) sides, West Ham United and Chelsea Women, delivered a lecture on the role of nutrition in enhancing player performance and ability to compete at the highest levels in the game.
He advised that footballers should change their diet plans to suit their daily bodily requirements.
“Players need to manipulate diets to best reflect daily demands,” he said. “This helps to optimise their performance and recovery as athletes,” he said. “One of the most important things to understand is that the requirements of the game vary quite considerably depending on positions, tactics the style of play and formation. This goes to show that nutrition interventions are very unique and different [between players].”
He added: “It is therefore really important to understand that nutrition recommendations should be provided on an individual basis. You have to treat people within a football team as individuals, and nutrition interventions should meet their unique requirements.”
Above all, he said, players and their managers should recognize that “lifestyle is a pillar of performance”, urging players to adopt lifestyles that will not impact negatively on their performance as athletes.
A former fitness coach with South Africa's Orlando Pirates, Warren Engelbrecht led participants through a session on “sports Science and Injury prevention”.
He educated the club managers on the importance of “periodisation”, which he explained as “planning for performance” and a “holistic programme integration for success”, comprising a set of principles to consider in preparing for (and recovering from) competitive games.
According to Engelbrecht, these practices should help club executives to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their teams and ultimately facilitate the construction of enduring solutions.
“What you are doing from a training or programme perspective needs to be specific to the sport, and also to the goals and the needs that have to be achieved within your team,” he said.
“Also, exposing players to a variety of stimulus is essential to ensuring that these athletes are prepared for what they going to be facing in a game, as much as it reduces the risk of injury.”
Lead doctor for Obuasi-based Ashanti Gold Club, Dr Aniemena-George Chidi, highlighted the importance of education and counselling for women footballers. He also touched on the importance of maintaining a healthy diet plan and noted that good nutrition facilitates faster recovery amongst athletes.
“Most female players experience hormonal changes that they do not understand and this can be attributed to stress,” he said. “So educating and counselling them to be able to understand and contain the emotional changes within this period is very important to understanding the problem. When you know what the problem is, it becomes easier to tackle it.”
The nutrition and sports science workshop for the GWPL clubs formed part of several projects to be rolled out as part of Betway’s designation as the official development partner of the GWPL.