Development and application of an African physical and technical talent identification field test battery for Zimbabwean male junior soccer players


D.Phil. (Sport Science)Abstract: Despite the availability of several studies on talent identification, there is no universal physical and technical talent identification test battery for predicting future potential in Under-14 Zimbabwean footballers. The aim of this study was twofold, firstly, to determine the coaches’ perceived physical and technical talent identification (TI) attributes for male Under-14 Zimbabwean footballers. Secondly, to develop and apply a physical and technical TI test battery for under-14 footballers. The present study utilised an exploratory sequential design using a modified Delphi method to establish a coaches perceived list of physical-physiological and technical attributes for TI. The identified attributes culminated in the development of and application of the test battery in Bulawayo Metropolitan and Matabeleland North province. The study utilised purposive sampling. The Zimbabwean Confederation of African Football (CAF 'A') accredited coaches (n = 39) completed five rounds of the Delphi questionnaires comprised of an initial questionnaire with open-ended questions. The subsequent questionnaires utilised the Miller’s (1972) Scale Battery of International Patterns and Norms for rating the attributes. Descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, frequencies and percentages) were used for analysis. The results indicated that leg power, speed, endurance, change of direction and flexibility were crucial in predicting talent in Under-14 footballers. The coaches further identified height, percentage body fat, bone diameter, weight, body composition, passing, dribbling, shooting, running with the ball, heading, diving and ball control. The field test method was used to collect anthropometric, technical and physical-physiological data in the second phase. Participants were 141 in-field Under-14 Zimbabwean junior footballers with a mean age of 12.01 ± 0.88. Descriptive statistics, birth quartile distributions, One-way Anova, odds ratios, Crammer’s V effect size, Chi-square test, Hochberg or Dunnett test were utilised for analysis. Data were processed using SPSS version 26.0 and 27.0. The level of significance was set at 0.05%. The junior footballers were divided into two groups, according to age categories and clusters. The results on age and maturity related attributes were significant in some variables between the 9 – 11.9 and 12 -13.9 while other attributes revealed no differences. Overall, 97.2% of the under-14 footballers in the original grouped cases were classified correctly into talented and non-talented groups. The talented group was classified with better accuracy of 97.6% compared to 89.5% of the non-talented group in the crossvalidated grouped cases. The talented group displayed an irregular birth distribution while the non-talented group had a linearly unbalanced distribution in favour of the first two quarters. Biological maturity revealed significant differences in some of the attributes wherein others no differences were observed. It was concluded that coaches considered multi-dimensional attributes based on anthropometric, physical fitness and technical attributes to identify talent. Additional, biological maturity and the relative age effect had no influence in the selection of Under-14 footballers. It was recommended that further research is warranted to unpack other variable attributes such as the psychosocial that may define talented Under-14 footballers. Football entities are encouraged to establish and implement a multi-dimensional test battery for talent identification

Similar works

Full text


University of Johannesburg Institutional Repository

Last time updated on 27/07/2022

Having an issue?

Is data on this page outdated, violates copyrights or anything else? Report the problem now and we will take corresponding actions after reviewing your request.