Orlando Pirates’ goalkeeper coach, Andrew Sparkes, has provided more information on how it all started for him in the profession before his switch from overseas to Gauteng.
Sparkes joined Pirates prior to the start of the season when he replaced Ivica Vukusic, who had been the goalkeeper coach at the Soweto giants.
Sparkes, 33, was formerly with English Championship side Swansea City, before arriving in Mzansi for the launch of his PSL career with Bucs.
In an interview with the University of South Wales, from which Sparkes spoke about graduating from the MSc Sports Coaching and Performance, the goalkeeper coach also discussed his time at the Buccaneers thus far.
“This season we are competing in the African Champions League (equivalent of UEFA Champions League), which is a fantastic experience playing some of the best teams on the African continent,” said Sparkes, as quoted on www.southwales.ac.uk.
“I am loving every second. Living and working in a different country is exposing me to different cultures and ways of working, which is pushing me out of my comfort zone and developing me personally and professionally.
“The MSc Sports Coaching and Performance was a fantastic learning experience for me. It offered a real cross-section of modules that I draw upon every day, both on and off the pitch. I took the course because at the age of 31 I wanted to continue my development away from football. I also wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the theory that underpins certain aspects of my role that I implement on a day-to-day basis working in an elite football environment,” he added.
As confirmed from the University, Sparkes is a UEFA A Licence goalkeeper coach, who has worked at a number of high-profile clubs, Swansea City, New York Red Bulls (MLS) and Red Bull Salzburg (Austrian Bundesliga). He graduated from the University in 2018, before he was snapped up by Pirates.
Following the arrival of Fadlu Davids, who has joined Bucs as second assistant coach to Milutin Sredojevic and Rulani Mokwena, the club boasts arguably one of the strongest technical teams in the PSL, with the likes of Finishing Coach Stephane Adam, Strength and Conditioning Coach Franck Plaine, Conditioning Coach Stephen Plummer, as well as Performance Analysts Darian Wilken, Michael Loftman and Kyle Solomon, among the brains surrounding the Serbian coach.