Pim shouldn’t judge the mess he left behind

shane Roar Guru

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    Are we being too tough on the Socceroos? (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

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    Earlier this week, former Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek, the man who ‘led’ Australia’s 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa, came out and painted a grim picture for the future of the national team.

    He said that it will take “at least a generation” for Australia to produce players capable of taking on the world.

    In an interview with Qatari sports website Doha Stadium Plus, Verbeek, now Morocco’s under-21s coach, said “a dwindling youth talent pool was one of the reasons [he] did not stay in the job after the World Cup.”

    I have news for you Pim – we know, and we were glad to see the back of you. It was never your team Mr Verbeek, it was Australia’s, and you brought the game to its knees.

    You got two million bucks a year to lead us into a World Cup and you crucified the Socceroos with your negative style of football.

    That shocking performance against Germany not only broke hearts, but ended our World Cup campaign. It sums up your tenure.

    I refuse to place all of the blame on the players. You sent the players out with a plan that they simply didn’t believe in. Many were left confused and frustrated by the negative tactics you frequently used.

    You have a huge share of responsibility for the long term challenges the team faces to get back to a standard where we can compete with the top teams.

    “If you see the performance of their youth teams at the moment, it isn’t that encouraging,” Verbeek said.

    You mention that in the third round of 2012 Olympic Games qualification, “they” (the Olyroos) played six games, but couldn’t “score a single goal.”

    As I see it, there are two glaring omissions that you failed to consider.

    1. Obviously a failure to score in five consecutive games is concerning, but Pim, I plead for a sense of perspective. The Olyroos had two perfectly good goals disallowed in Uzbekistan. Against the UAE, they had the two best chances of the game.

    2. The Olyroos’ Olympic campaign was blighted by club-versus-country issues – the non-FIFA dates meant European-based players were mostly unavailable.

    No disrespect to the players who were picked, they gave all they could, but if you think of a European-based forward line of Tommy Oar and Matthew Leckie, that is the extra bit of quality that was missing in an attacking sense.

    Hopes that the golden generation of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and Tim Cahill would evolve into a consistent production line may not eventuate, but there are several hundred Australians plying their trade across the globe.

    Tom Rogic and Aaron Mooy continue to light up the A-League, while emerging talents Mustafa Amini (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Eli Babalj (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia) and Curtis Good (Newcastle United, England) have made their way from the Hyundai A-League to heavyweight European clubs.

    The Australian influence in the K-League has shown no signs of abating, with Brendan Hamill (Seongnam Ilhwa) and Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors) the latest to land in Korea.

    It’s great to see these players head to all parts of the world to develop their game. It’s a positive for the national team, as well as the actual players.

    So Pim, with respect to your comments regarding the state of the game in Australia, just zip it.

    Yours sincerely,

    Football Fan