Michael Loftman’s career path till this point has been full of great experiences and spontaneity.
A former Global Development Coach at Tottenham Hotspur and Assistant Sports Scientist at Watford, he made the decision to leave a job at Dagenham and Redbridge to gain managerial experience in the distant lands of Zambia. A holiday in the landlocked country in Southern Africa was enough to lure him into working in this beautiful part of the world, leaving Greater London to experience a culture that would be conducive for his career.
“At Tottenham, I used to travel around the UK and teach teams the Tottenham philosophy and they would come visit us from Japan, Holland and Belgium. Our job would be to educate them on the philosophy that Tottenham use for the U21s all the way down to the U5s,” says Loftman in an exclusive interview with Left Back Football.
He mentions a familiar face in English football that helped him make the first steps in his career as a young coach at Spurs, and also disseminated some information that he has carried with him to Zambia and will do for the rest of his career.
“I worked with Chris Ramsey and he is the main person who looked after me there. The most important thing that he taught me is that developing individuals is different to getting results. If your objective is to develop individuals, the information you deliver to players is different from the information you deliver to players to get results.”
At only 26 years-old, Loftman has gained experience way beyond his years but the chance to make large strides at such a young age in Zambia proved too good to turn down. Loftman’s life since the age of 17 has always revolved around coaching, spending the next seven or eight years obtaining his coaching badges whilst earning extra money during his course coaching at non-league level. He also moonlighted as a London DJ but each step he has taken since has been to enhance his ability to drop football knowledge, not floor-fillers.
“I did my work placement for my final year of University at Watford, helping out their sport scientists. Initially, it was strength and conditioning/fitness work – then I started helping the coaches from the under 9s to the under 16s.”
The enthusiastic young coach would later make the journey to Zambia, facing an arduous process in landing a job at Lusaka Dynamos, a top-flight club in the nation’s busy capital city. The African sun bathes both the bustling centre of Lusaka and the townships that border it. These surroundings are at times, far different from the centre and would require development if they are to mirror the wealth of the inner city.
Once settled in Roma Villas (pictured), a lush yet isolated microcosm of Lusaka, he would become the technical director of the Dynamos. It’s an area somewhat distant from the city’s industrious core, and a job somewhat distant from the touchline. Yet his first opportunity to test himself in the managerial hot seat was closer than he could have imagined…
Full text can be downloaded here as of 22/12/16.