Rochdale AFC’s Development Centres have been delighted to welcome former professional footballer Fabrice Muamba as a member of their coaching staff in recent weeks.
The 30-year-old has been coaching the under-16s that are based at the club’s Manchester Development Centre.
He is currently studying for his coaching badges and hopes the experience will help both himself and the young footballers develop.
“For me, it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t say no to, and I just want to make the most of it,” said Muamba.
“I was doing my Youth Award and the tutor is a good friend of Brett [Rochdale AFC Development Centres Manager]. I don’t live far from here so it was a great opportunity. Since I’ve been here it’s been a very helpful experience.
“Hopefully this can help me finish my badges and see where it takes me. It’s been a fantastic first few weeks and really enjoyable so far.”
The former Arsenal, Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers midfielder studied for a degree in Sports Journalism following his retirement from football, and has since been coaching in various capacities for the last three years.
“Everybody who played the game will tell you that the next best thing after playing football is being on the touchline.
“Hopefully I can share my knowledge and see what I bring to the table. There is a lot of competition in terms of coaching in this country, but at the same time I feel I have something to offer.
“I just feel like it’s somewhere to get more time on the pitch in terms of coaching and hopefully that will help me long-term. Being able to be somewhere I’m coaching consistently will be helpful for me.”
Aged 23, Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during an FA Cup quarter-final tie, from which he recovered despite his heart having stopped for 78 minutes.
Now he wants to share his own experiences and journey with the youngsters he is coaching, helping them to develop both on and off the field.
“I am always honest with these young lads. In football there are always ups and downs, so you have to be mentally tough and be prepared to face adversity.
“You have to have the desire to want to become a football player, not just like the idea of it. You have to be committed to the cause and try to be the best you can possibly be.
“If I can add something into their journey then great, and hopefully I can also learn something from them in order for me to progress in my coaching journey, so it works both ways.”
The club’s Development Centres and Elite Development Squads all feed in to the successful Rochdale AFC Academy. Click HERE for a full explanation on how everything links together.