No Room For Racism

Muamba: Coaching may be the next best thing to playing football

23 Apr 2024
Fabrice Muamba

Fabrice Muamba discusses his coaching journey after participating in the Premier League's Professional Player to Coach Scheme

Related Articles
How Premier League scheme helped coach secure job at Wolves
Benjani shares impact of Premier League coaching scheme
How West Ham coach Farley is breaking new ground

Former Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba is one of the latest players to enrol on the Professional Player to Coach Scheme (PPCS) – a joint programme between the Premier League, the Professional Footballers' Association and the English Football League (EFL) designed to increase the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic players who transition into coaching.

The scheme, first introduced in 2020, provides six coaches per season with a 23-month intensive work placement at a Premier League or EFL club within the academy or first team-environment. Each coach works through a personal learning and development programme focusing on several key areas: physical performance and conditioning, recruitment, analysis, administration and coaching different age groups.

Speaking to VERSUS, Muamba, who is now an academy coach at Burnley, talked about football’s ongoing efforts to ensure off-pitch representation matches on-pitch levels of diversity, why coaching has filled a void for him following his cardiac arrest while playing for Bolton in 2012 and how Burnley is the right place for him to develop.

See: Learn more about the Professional Player to Coach Scheme

Fabrice Muamba

"I want to share my experiences. I want to be able to pass on my knowledge from my time as a player and communicate that to the talents of tomorrow.

"As a father myself, I have seen my own kids grow up and learn about football. Some of the players here are of similar ages to them. For me, coaching is about trying to relate to them and trying to pass on as much as possible.

Fabrice Muamba

"I stopped playing back in 2012. I took a couple years out of the game and in that time, I did everything! I studied, I did media, I completed a degree. I did a lot. After a while, when I got to thinking, I concluded that coaching may be the next best thing to playing football. 

"I started here and there, and then I got the bug for it. I started taking my badges from different football clubs and then this opportunity [PPCS] presented itself. Now, I feel like I just need to give it my all.

"For me, I have benefited so much from senior coaches around me and being in this environment. In terms of coaching, I would liken myself to a newly qualified school teacher. I hope to learn more and be able to do more within the game. It all takes time and being open to learning.

"I know the field is ruthless and I am not a ‘complete coach’ yet, but the [PPCS] programme helps with that - especially being around like-minded people on the same journey.


"Regarding assignments, we always help each other with coaching ideas, arranging games and what is so great is, as former players we all speak the same language. The level of understanding makes the whole experience very wholesome.

"I started by doing my Level 2 at Liverpool which allowed me to coach younger age groups. I then did my UEFA B at Manchester City - because of who I knew, they invited me to come in and do that. I then had a focus on my education so I did my degree before getting back into coaching. I spent a year with the under 15s and that’s when an opportunity to join Burnley in the summer arose, I interviewed, got the job and I've been here since.

"I have been fortunate to learn and adapt by working with different players. The players at Manchester City or Liverpool are different from those at Bolton. Different environments come with different challenges but the principles are the same: how can I teach these young people to play ‘good’ football?

"I look at the current coaches and see that if you do things the right way and you are committed to learning, you never know what’s around the corner. I’m seeing that with Tom Cleverley, someone I played against.

"In regards to former players, some have access to opportunities because they have had a decent career but that does not mean that they will make top coaches. Schemes are important to give everyone access as roles are super competitive, but the main thing is for people not to be deterred by a lack of diversity. Work hard and let the rest happen.

Fabrice Muamba

"I always want to be the best in whatever I do, so I want to be the best manager I can be. The place I am at right now, is about learning and adapting and adding to my toolkit to make me better. That is how I stay prepared should an opportunity present itself. 

"I am ready, but for now, it's all about learning and improving myself. Football changes quickly so whilst I am working hard to be the best me, I am also enjoying the journey."

Impact of PL's coaching schemes

- Of 63 coaches to have progressed through the Premier League's inclusive coaching programmes, the PPCS or the Coach Inclusion and Diversity Scheme (CIDS), 56 (88 per cent) are in full-time employment with clubs. 
- All 25 coaches who have been supported through PPCS are employed as a coach in English professional football.  
- Of the 38 coaches who have been supported through the CIDS, 31 are employed in men’s English football, plus one in the Women's Super League and two more overseas.
- 45 clubs across the Premier League and EFL have engaged with either PPCS or CIDS. 
- 361 coaches are registered to the Coach Index (a self-registration system for coaches from underrepresented groups), with 72 clubs signed up to use the platform when recruiting.

Photography from VERSUS

Also in this series 

Latest Videos

More Videos