Classification of junior Ethiopian football players using anthropometric and physical fitness attributes: Developing a predictive model
- Physical Fitness,
- Talent development
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Copyright (c) 2022 Leyekun Tadesse, Johan van Heerden, Orthodox Tefera
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Aim: The aim of the present study was to develop a predictive model that identifies the anthropometric and physical fitness characteristics that best predicts the status and playing positions of players (N=400; 15–17 years) in the Ethiopian male youth soccer development programme. Methods: Anthropometric measurement in terms of mass, height, relative body fat, and derived body composition was conducted using the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK) guidelines. Fitness was measured by sprint tests (10 meters, 20 meters and 40 meters flat), the Illinois agility test, vertical jump test and estimated VO2 max. Factorial ANOVA was used to test the relationships between players’ residence, position, and respective interaction terms. Additionally, discriminant analysis was used to identify the variables that contributed to the selections. Results: Players residing in a Sports Camp (academy) vs. their homes were signiﬁcantly different in all anthropometric attributes as well as physical fitness attributes at p<0.05 except VO2 max. The percentage of players who were correctly classiﬁed in the original groups was slightly lower than the percentage calculated after the analysis was performed for the total sample (86%) and after calculation by position (86 – 90%). Conclusion: The study concluded that speed assessed in10m, 40m, vertical jump, and height were the discriminate attributes of Ethiopian junior football players selected or not selected to an elite group residential sports camp. It is recommended that anthropometrical and physical fitness attributes are considered in the assessment and selection of young football players with the potential for higher-level performance selection.
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