Take a punt on Bozza, Sydney
Hearty boomayes to Zeljko Kalac, who wants to return to the A-League to coach when his time is up at AC Milan. We need more of his kind back here, passing on their undoubted skills, knowledge and wisdom to the young generation of players currently learning their trade from the first wave of Australian coaches whose European playing careers predated Kalac and his peers: the Van Egmonds, the Kosminas, the Mitchells.
Arguably, because of their top-level experience, players coming to the end of their European careers such as Kalac have the potential to be even better coaches than those aforementioned. (We would want to bloody hope so.)
After all, GVE, arguably the best of the lot, never knew what it was like to be in a dressing-room with Kaka.
So there must be all manner of little things Kalac could pass on to young players, who would undoubtedly regard him with awe, purely on the basis of the company he’s kept the past few years.
Which, for me, naturally begs the question of why Mark Bosnich, currently without a club in Australia but to many minds one of the top three Australian football exports in the history of the game, hasn’t been given a player-assistant coach role with one of the existing eight A-League franchises or either one of the two start-ups slated for “Version 5.0″.
Bosnich was always to my mind a superior goalkeeper to Kalac and even our incumbent Socceroos No. 1, Mark Schwarzer. A freak.
And, while he was at the top with Aston Villa, Manchester United and Chelsea, he was a freak that played with and against the best of them in Europe.
Of course, he’s not the same player now; and he’s been through all sorts of personal torments that have left their mark on him physically and mentally. But on any given day, in close to full fitness, I’d bet he’d still wipe the floor against any of his A-League glovesmen. Talents like his are rare and they don’t reach such lofty heights by accident.
Bosnich is currently training with Sydney FC to get ready for an “Oceania All Stars” exhibition game against LA Galaxy in New Zealand early next month. Sydney already have an exceptional goalkeeping coach in John Filan, a man who was criminally overlooked by national selectors for the best part of his career, and just retired former Socceroo Tony Popovic has just come on board as Kosmina’s assistant, but the club could do a lot worse – they have done a lot worse – than try to tie Bozza down to a contract with some sort of coaching component for the senior or youth teams, provisional on him getting the necessary paperwork.
With John Aloisi backfiring terribly as Sydney’s “marquee” player, even sporadic playing appearances by Bosnich could lure some of Sydney’s fleet of annoyed fans back to the Sydney Football Stadium. (Current No. 1 Clint Bolton, might I add, has been targeted by North Queensland Fury as a possible acquisition, which does open up an interesting scenario.)
Then there would be the obvious benefits for Sydney of having arguably the two best Australian goalkeepers of the past 20 years on their staff.
(There is the small matter of how they could afford it, but Sydney has shown remarkable adeptness in getting around such trifle considerations in the past, have they not? Certainly this is one man who in my opinion would return big dividends on a small investment.)
It’s already an indictment of the A-League that Bosnich is without a club.
It would be a further injustice to him and to our football history if we were to let him see out a great career simply cooling his heels.
It’s been a crappy sort of year for Sydney FC, but with Bozza in its midst the club’s fortunes just might be changing.