Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Floundering Fozzie, Part 2

Of course, there are issues that arise out of the game against Kuwait. Mike Cockerill, a journalist rather than a two-bit pundit, outlines them with grim accuracy in his article, which appeared the day before Foster’s.

Availability is one key issue here, and I’m glad that an Australian football journalist has finally come straight out and said what most long-term followers of the game here knew: that Hiddink was given the sort of whole-hearted support from the game’s administrators that was never extended to Frank Farina. Or, for that matter, Eddie Thomson and Frank Arok.

With Graham Arnold, it’s a case of same old, same old.

It’s long been my belief that Frank Farina was being “softened up” for the sack long before his post-Confederations Cup dumping. His preparation for the event consisted of home games against Iraq and Indonesia, and a final warm-up against New Zealand. The former two games were sweeteners in Australia’s Asia push, but as national team preparation they were next to useless; availability problems abounded (not surprisingly, given that the game was played twenty-four hours from Europe in the middle of the European club season), and the opposition was far from adequate.

At the tournament itself, he was denied the services of Vince Grella and Marco Bresciano, although the FFA would have been perfectly within their rights to call up the pair. Significantly, Theo Zagorakis, involved in the same Italian relegation playoff as Grella and Bresciano, was duly called up for the tournament by Greece.

Arnold faced similar problems last week. The match was on a full international date, and the players should undoubtedly have been called up a week in advance, for acclimatization purposes if nothing else. They were not.

Arnold should have been able to call upon an adequate support staff during his time in Kuwait. He could not.

Happily ignoring all this, Craig Foster continues to warble on about:

“tactical knowledge and transferability…team and relationship management…problem solving during matches…communication with players…managing them expertly and with authority…important to establish boundaries…zzzz”

Cockerill deals in specifics and facts.

Foster deals in waffle, jargon and assumption.

When precisely did the players get together in Kuwait? Their last club games were 9+ days before playing Kuwait FFS.

It was nice not having to be concerned about NT scheduling/logistics during the World Cup. It does my head in doing so as it's such a neglected area in Oz football fan circles and of course administrators.
...When precisely did the players get together in Kuwait?...

About two days before the game apparently. And this was a FULL INTERNATIONAL date!!

Plus there's the bizarre Kosmina issue. Something distinctly fishy there.

Anyone who thinks Arnie is getting the full support of the FFA at the moment is kidding themselves.
Mikey wrote - "Plus there's the bizarre Kosmina issue. Something distinctly fishy there.

Anyone who thinks Arnie is getting the full support of the FFA at the moment is kidding themselves."

To be fair to the FFA, they provided Arnie with a training camp prior to the Sydney game. When the result mattered, they gave reasonable support.

That said, it does make you wonder if he's being set up for the noose Farina style now that we've qualified. Boultbee wasn't in Kuwait City either, and the ridiculous paucity of resources for this match sounds like more than mere cost cutting.

Cockerill's article is fine and everything, but there's still some questions about Arnold that don't really depend on his having proper backing and support.

Why employ such an energy-sapping formation in that heat? Perhaps he thought it could still be effective even if players were forced to play less strenuously. Perhaps he wanted some players who weren't familiar with the style to get used to it. But then why only use two subs?

Also he seems to say part of his task is to present as many players as possible in front of the coach who will eventually take over and make his final selection. So again why just two subs?

Another thing, was Kosmina actually supposed to be there, even though the A-League season has just started? I thought he assisted for the first game because it was an all A-League side, but there was not a single A-League player in the 2nd match. But now I hear that Kozzie's plane wouldn't start!
TFO said - "That said, it does make you wonder if he's being set up for the noose Farina style now that we've qualified."

He doesn't need to be, Arnold said himself that he does not want the head coach position, and that he is just a caretaker of the team. What FFA need to do is get into gear and organise a more permanent coach whom they will give full support to.

And yet its okay at the start of the club season to do things in a really half-arsed manner.

Arnie's committed to the job in whatever capacity. No coach in the world would have been happy with those arrangements. The bloke has/will have to put up with a lot. Any coach in any sport is butting their head against a brick wall when the full backing is not there.

Despite any other deficiencies, Arnie's personable man mangement style seems suited to holding the side together for now. It was something they said that about Farina - but the team lost confidence in him for other reasons.
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