Australian football must learn from Olyroos failure

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    On the back of a disastrous Olympic qualification campaign where the Olyroos failed to score in six matches, the FFA must raise both elite and grassroots standards to build a senior side capable of winning a World Cup.

    A largely new-look squad were unable to prevent Australia from finishing bottom of Group B with just four points from their six matches. And while you can’t fault the efforts of the youthful side and the way they overcame the obstacles of a limited preparation, the campaign was bitterly disappointing and the football community must take responsibility.

    The positive to take from it is now there can be an in-depth analysis. Australia must continue to strive towards improving the technical ability and knowledge of our younger players.

    We must improve the way we develop our young players and the way they are coached from the age of five to 16 and beyond. Australia must replicate development models implemented around the world.

    To be the best, you must learn from the best. And there is no doubting that Spain is the best. They have created one of the most formidable international sides in history thanks to a more dedicated and technical approach at grassroots level.

    We need to develop Australian players with the hope that they will eventually break into the first teams of elite clubs around the world and then into the international team, nurturing youngsters through a more dedicated coaching development program.

    Why has Australia struggled to produce world-class players over recent years? Personally, I think the answer lies in how our society has developed in the last decade or so.

    The distractions in modern day society are hard to ignore. Kids now spend their time tweeting and texting rather than out at a park kicking a ball.

    The domestic competition needs to continue to grow and the FFA have taken an important step that needed to be taken for the future of Australian football by establishing an A-League team in Sydney’s western suburbs.

    The level of participation in that area – for boys and girls – is high, and they need to be inspired to play football for their country.

    The true effect of the current revolution in thinking in Australian football will not be truly felt at national team level until 2018, when our current crop of 18 year olds are then 25 and experienced professionals ingrained in the system.

    As for 2014, there is no doubting Holger Osieck will have his work cut out. Australia will be unable to field a team of talented 21 year olds in Brazil and expect the success that we had in 2006 with the experience of Moore, Bresciano, and Cahill.

    The difference between the class of 2006 and 2014 will be substantial. No doubt the likes of Mustafa Amini, Terry Antonis and Mitch Nichols are the future of Australian football, along with Eli Babalj, who continues to show signs that he could develop into a striker in the mould of Mark Viduka.

    These players could be another golden generation of Australian talent, but 2014 will be here a bit too soon for them.

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • April 12th 2012 @ 4:30pm
      John said | April 12th 2012 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

      Must be difficult for the FFA to keep focus across it all with the A-League disaster. Good to focus the mind again Shane – go you Socceroos, Olyroos, ‘Roos!

    • April 12th 2012 @ 8:48pm
      Swampy said | April 12th 2012 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

      Not to forget selection was a key failure of the Olyroos – just ask Uncle Clive.

      As time passes we will realise in Kewell and Dukes we had our two greatest socceroos ever.

      It may be some time before we see another of their class.

      Don’t forget Kewell was recruited and signed when he was 15. Viduka tore apart grizzled veterans of the NSL when he was 18.

      No one has stepped up like that since.

      Not unsimilar to the national cricket team – the veteran bats may be past their best but no young guy is banging the door down to the selectors room.

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        April 12th 2012 @ 9:09pm
        Stevo said | April 12th 2012 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

        I don’t need time to pass by to appreciate that in Kewell and Dukes we had, arguably, our greatest Socceroos. The skill and poise on the ball was awesome, and this when pitted against some of the best players in the world. As a plug for Heart, I can see glimpses of Dukes in the way Babalj plays. Just look at replays of some of his goals this year and recently the shot against PG that Vukovic had to parry over the bar. He let the ball run across his body while giving the defender every indication he was going to put his foot on the ball. Once the defender was committed in one direction he was clear in the other and the goal opened up but the shot was going upwards rather than to either side of Vuk. As the HAL develops these kind of exciting younger players it will put more people through the turnstiles.

    • April 12th 2012 @ 11:10pm
      KNACKERS said | April 12th 2012 @ 11:10pm | ! Report

      Let us not call it a failure but rather another possible opportunity for a large handout from the taxpayer

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