Ever pondered the use of GPS vests during training by world-famous football players?
Well, these pro athletes use the vests to monitor and assess their on-field performance and generate insightful data.
Players and coaches can examine data such as total distance, top speed, number of sprints, sprint distance, power, load, intensity, and much more by wearing a GPS vest, which is meant to track the players’ performance.
And for the first time ever, the Chapa Dimba, a national football competition for players between 16 to 20 years old, introduced cutting-edge technology to analyze data.
IMG Communications Director Charles Gacheru, the talent behind the GPS vests better known as Catapult One, emphasized the necessity of sports technology.
Asked about the inspiration behind the state-of-the-art technology, Gacheru said: “The idea is to shine a light on the local talent.”
He explained that they are now able to produce data from the Safaricom Chapa Dimba Tournament with measures that are widely recognized.
“What we have seen with Tusker FC -who use similar technology -is that players know they have been monitored and when they look at where they have dropped off their mindset changes. Stakeholders including the coach of Harambee Stars have seen the technology and discussions are ongoing,” he said.
“Safaricom are actually leading the way; for instance, the Harambee Starlets are on the brink of Women’s Africa Cup of Nations qualification and should they make it and finish in the top four in the continental event, then they qualify for the World Cup.”
Gacheru said he is pleased that sports science is progressively spreading over the African continent, which has led to high expectations for young athletes.
“For instance, how do you know that you are a good 16- year-old female footballer. If you can measure certain metrics then you can compare yourself and know how you are performing against another girl in Uganda or in South Africa or a girl who plays for Chelsea or another girl playing in other lucrative leagues worldwide,” Gacheru continued.
He also shed light on how Chapa Dimba players can use the data to get scholarships.
“Just like academic credentials in University, people judge you with your grade and the same now applies with the GPS vest technology,” he said.
He asserted that the players will have solid resumes thanks to the data generated from the Chapa Dimba technology. The data, he said, will help catapult their careers.
“The information generated from Chapa Dimba will definitely be valuable to the players, the teams and scouts. We know nowadays when we are watching F1 and other global sporting events, when we are watching golf, there is data. At the end of all Premier League game players are even given statistics,” he said.
Gacheru said he is pleased that the Chapa Dimba will be a success given proper planning and its recent technological development.