Holger Osieck is gone and this is a good thing for Australian football. I’m afraid, however, that the problems run far deeper than this. Australian football is at a crossroads.
I’ll state from the outset that I’m not a passionate follower of the sport itself, although I do support Australia in all the things they do.
I do not profess to be an expert in this area and my general thoughts in this article might (and probably will) draw the ire of many, many people.
I am trying to offer my thoughts into the problems, as I see them. Not many of them have easy solutions.
I think there is a level of reality-checking that needs to be done by all levels of the sport.
From the FFA, to clubs and the everyday joe-average supporter. Two 6-0 defeats are unacceptable yes, but they point to a bigger problem.
As much as we are a country of amazing sportsmen and sportswomen that regularly punches above its weight on the sporting fields across the world, we are small fish in the world of Football.
Brazil and France are World Cup winners. Simple maths would dictate that these are obvious results.
Putting it bluntly 6-0 is probably where we stand currently. If we’re being totally honest, this morning’s result could’ve been and should’ve been a few goals worst – it was 6-0 after 60 minutes.
We have not regenerated and revitalised our team enough in the period between the last two World Cups.
That comes down partly to Holger Osieck, but it also comes down to a number of players that need do a reality check of their own. Are they up to it any more?
When the glory days of 2006 happened and we went within an inch (or was it an Italian dive?) of making the quarter finals, many of our lynchpins were eight years younger.
Kewell, Schwarzer, Neill, etc were in their prime of their careers.
After a quick exit in the 2010 World Cup, what happened? More of the same. It’s high time some of the experienced (read, ageing) players stopped clinging on and let some new kids find experience.
I’d rather lose 10-0 with a bunch of kids that will be playing in 2018 than lose 6-0 with a team of people who will wander aimlessly into retirement after Brazil 2014.
We barely qualified for Brazil as it was anyway – but we did, so credit given where credit is due.
No one ‘deserves’ a World Cup as send-off of sorts, allowing them to retire.
It’s all well and good to give people respect that they deserve for being servants of our game (Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer et al) but sometimes these people need to be given a polite tap on the shoulder.
It appeared that Osieck’s role was to provide a proverbial broom. He has failed to do this. Simple as that.
So the question remains: who will that person be? Aurelio Vidmar in the interim is the answer, but in the longer term?
The FFA needs a big look at themselves. It should not be our goal to qualify for a World Cup – and I think that is the mentality at the moment.
Our goal should be to go deep into the knockout stage of a World Cup, though we can’t expect that today. For that to happen in 2014, 2018 and potentially even in 2022 is unrealistic. It is a one to two-decade work in progress.
The A-League is progressing well and junior participation numbers have never been higher. That said, I fear much of the interest in the A-League surrounds the likes of Del-Piero, Ono and the other overseas marquee signings.
Take them out, would interest level still be the same? Young players are not going to stay in Australia to develop their talent as the overseas options will nearly always provide better training facilities and coaching. And money.
As I said, there is no easy answers and I apologise for the vent – but these are key issues as I see them.
Where to next? Any chance we get Aussie Guus back? At least he had some personality and fortitude.