Australia has the talent to succeed, just not the attitude
Holger Osieck, sacked on the back of Australia's second 6-0 loss. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
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I so badly want football to improve and reach its potential in Australia, but I feel it won’t, at least for a while.
How can we lose to Jordan? Well, some of us are not surprised.
All we hear about is the end of the Socceroos “Golden Generation”. The team who, in 2006, brought football into the mainstream consciousness like never before.
It’s actually quite simple why we lost to Jordan. We never had a golden generation.
And we have a coach who has no desire, or need, and possibly no skills, to develop the talent we have coming through the A-League and in Europe.
Holger Osiecks’ job is defined by qualification to Brazil. The young player requires coaching and experience. They need to make mistakes, learn and play.
I don’t know if Holger is giving them the coaching to play at international level, but they won’t get the experience because Holgers’ job, and reputation, which in turn affects his ability for future jobs, is on the line.
No way will he risk that on the younger players, when the older more proven national team players, are more than capable of doing the job. But it is that attitude that is why we have no talent coming through.
Is merely qualifying for Brazil good enough?
We have qualified for the last two World Cups, and we have brought him in to do the same. When in fact, qualification for Australia has become easier.
We had it hardest when we had to play through a home and away play-off against the fifth placed South American team, Uruguay both times.
These days, we just have to be among the top four or five in Asia. Excluding Japan, being far superior than the rest, we have to play Oman, Jordan, Iraq, but our only job requirement from the national team coach is that we qualify.
That was the mistake with Pim, and it is the mistake to be repeated with Holger. Pim Verbeek, an average at best coach, even qualified through Asia, and then was drastically found out on the world stage. The same will happen again if we only ask for qualification.
If we were to place some real ambition on the team we should aim to qualify from our group in the World Cup and say anything less is unsatisfactory.
Then, only then, would we find a coach who has the knowledge, skills, and desire to develop a team that in four years (given Holger was hired two ago) will be ready to not only beat Oman, Jordan and Iraq, but a team that has enough ‘skill’ from their ‘talent’, and enough ‘know how’ from their ‘experience’, to pass through the group stage.
Only then, would we look at a draw with Oman, air conditioned or not, and say it wasn’t good enough.
What is going to happen if we draw Brazil in our group in 2014, and we have to play them on a hot day? Holger doesn’t have to worry about that, by then his job will be done, as was with Pim.
We made our way into Asia, to play more competitive matches. But at the moment it looks as though we would have been better off playing just the competitive play off.
It demanded that we be ready. It demanded a coach of Guus’ pedigree. He is the one that created the so called Golden Generation.
Ask any of those players if they learnt anything from Guus. They all say he was amazing. That experience alone made them better players.
Truth is, I don’t believe we have had a golden generation at all. We had a good national team. We had this good national team also in previous years, the difference in 2006 was that we had Hiddink.
If this, had been a golden generation, we would have qualified in 2002 as well, we would have won or at least done well in the Asian Cup in 2007. We would have produced a similar fantastic result at the 2010 World Cup, and again in the 2011 Asian Cup.
But we didn’t. The only time, we looked superior to what we’d seen from previous and current national teams, is when we were under Guus Hiddink. He was the key.
This is not recognised. So we compare the following players that come into the Socceroos’ squad with what the 2006 squad was able to achieve, and we merely say, “they are not as good”.
The actual truth is, there is a lack of development. There is talent. There have been many young players touted as future Socceroos.
That, is talent. But talent alone doesn’t guarantee anything, or get you anywhere, everyone knows that. You need ambition, and you need to give talent a chance, an opportunity, experience.
Life is funny, and sad sometimes, as you live, you learn lessons that you wish you’d known a while ago.
But, you have to learn from them, and accept responsibility for what happens to you.
And, as an aspiring footballer, I’ve accepted what has happened to me, and where I am. But I wonder when Australian football, the FFA, our national team coaches are going to accept responsibility?
We have talent. We deserve more, the talent deserves more.
I wonder if we will learn our lessons in time. We haven’t yet.
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