Thursday, September 21, 2006
The A-League, it seems, is going Latin.
By and large, this is good news. The addition of a little South American style is likely to enhance the league from a spectator viewpoint, and input from other footballing "cultures" can only be a good thing for Australian football. On the minus side, some of the gamesmanship associated with South American players has already made its unwelcome appearance; Rodriguez, like Melbourne's Alessandro, was guilty of some cynical theatrics against Sydney FC. Every rose has its thorn, as they say.
The case of Romario is an interesting one. Not quite the archetypal Latin artiste on the ball, his forte has always been finishing - his conversion rate is phenomenal, and his ability to find just the right position in the box has always been his chief asset.
In this, he will certainly be bringing something different to Australian football. Although we have never been short of muscular, powerful strikers adept at rattling uneasy defences - forget tactics, this, dear reader, is how our game against Japan at the World Cup was won - the poacher type is rare in Australia.
In recent years, by all accounts, Romario has been an apostle of energy conservation off the ball. Not surprising, given his age. But in front of goal, it seems he is as dependable as ever; he has managed nearly a goal a game in his most recent peregrination, a spell with American second division side Miami FC.
It would be a pity to disturb an already effective partnership in Rech and Qu. And the difficulties of the "guest player" situation, of which more in a future blog, may adversely affect Adelaide's results in the long run, as they did Sydney FC's last year (arguably).
Nevertheless, "Romario in the A-League" sounds pretty good. Fingers crossed.
But then even if you think you're perfect, it is nice to have some glamour and glitz for a spell.
At the end of the day, I don't think these guests are a great idea. I think a player should be able to put in at least half a season with you.
hopefully adelaide can stich up romario by then as well
whod have thought that a few years ago...packed hindmarsh stadium watching carbone and romario on opposing teams
And yet the smug gloating by Mr Murray on the SBS site touting the SBS line is still with us. Sometimes in very shrill tones.
...Yet, as I write, Sydney FC vacillates over Carbone while Collymore has already had the door shut on him by FFA.
The mind boggles, for each has star quality and the capability of adding massively to attendances.
Carbone, if a way can be found, should be signed and the opportunity must not be lost. As for Collymore, the judgement to reject him was rushed (done in less that 24 hours) and unscientific. His name, charisma and technical prowess, if properly studied, may have over-ruled the risks carried by his sleazy off-field record.
Collymore would have been a massive hit, in Newcastle and beyond, and the A-League has lost a major chance to gather more bums on seats. The risk, in my view, was worth it...
Its one thing to bring in players of genuine quality who settle well into the team environment - its another to turn the whole thing into a travelling freakshow. The FFA was right on Collymore.
...A year on from the grey roll call at the league’s inauguration, there are now 12 ‘exotics’ in the competition, players who are neither locally bred or hail from Europe: six from South America, two from China, one from Korea, one from the USA and two from Africa (if you include the English-Ghanaian Bruce Djite).
It’s a meagre proportion (out of a total roster of 176) but it sure is better than what the league started with. The A-League is beginning to broaden (not by central design, by the way) its technical diversity and, therefore, its capacity to appeal and entertain. It is developing ‘colour’...
Now hold on there Les. The A-League requires room for Australian players, and a substantial number of them too. Otherwise we are of removing the key reason for a strong locally based competition.
I think enough of the clubs are getting the balance right, a smattering of Latin players worked into the clubs is a good formula for influencing our locally based players and stimulating crowds. The teething problems for Alessandro and Claudinho (as part of MV's much hyped triumvariate of excellence)serves as evidence that its not wise to commit a club too far down that path.
Most managers in the A-League (frustratingly still not for NZ) seem to recognise their responsiblity for looking after the next generation while achieving good play and the right results.