The Roar
The Roar


Football needs coaches not characters

John Kosmina will return to Adelaide United (AAP Image/Bryan Charlton)
Roar Guru
21st December, 2011
3643 Reads

Like getting back with an old-girlfriend, John Kosmina’s return to the helm of Adelaide United this week has thrown up a whole raft of past-issues.

So, regardless of your opinion of the man as a football technician, Kosmina’s appointment has led us to some very interesting talking points.

One of the biggest claims I’ve heard on the topic is the former Socceroos’ return will be good for the game. The thinking being that his character and headline churning press conferences will help get Adelaide fresh media coverage.

However I believe this to be something of a misnomer.

As journalists, “Kossie” does make our jobs easier with his almost page-ready quotes – when you go to a Kosmina press conference you don’t need to trudge around looking for an angle, the odds are he’ll provide one for you.

Yet the reality is Kosmina wont bring the mainstream media swooning to press events and an apathetic general public flocking to Hindmarsh Stadium.

So what will? The answer, in part at least, is good coaches.

We don’t need larger than life characters to promote the A-League but progressive and exciting football. The only way to achieve this is through developing our football technicians to the highest possible level.

In other words as a starting point more Ange Postecoglous and Graham Arnolds would help.


I’d use Gold Coast United’s coach Miron Bleiberg as another example. His press conferences and post-match comments can be thoroughly entertaining but that fact alone doesn’t necessarily make him “good for the game”.

How well have Blieberg’s eccentric quotes worked for Gold Coast United’s crowd figures?

A further development on this point also coming out of Kosmina’s appointment has been his lack of a coaching A-license – the minimum requirement to be qualified for a head coaching position in the A-League.

The main argument in defence of Kosmina getting special dispensation from Football Federation Australia to take on the role at United is that it’s just a piece of paper and it doesn’t make you a good coach.

This is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of why these qualifications are mandatory.

All professionals, regardless of their field require not just a high-level of qualifications to work in their industry but a minimum amount of refresher and developmental learning to maintain their professional standing.

On Wednesday evening former Socceroo Craig Foster made an eloquent point on this issue quoting well-known writer Peter Drucker on Twitter.

“No discipline can lengthen a man’s arm, but it can lengthen his reach by hoisting him on the shoulders of his predecessors.”


In other words an “A” license might not make you a great coach, but as Foster went on to explain, “every great coach has one”.

FFA’s coaching license program is not yet at the standard of the Italian football association’s Coverciano – arguably the most demanding coaching school in the world – but it’s a fundamental step in the right direction.

If we get this right we’ll have achieved another key component in the game’s quest to thrive in Australia – good coaches and not just big characters.