Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Pim and the Parochials

I'm back...a little the worse for wear and still feeling the effects of jetlag, but not enough to keep me away from matters football.

And the issue that seems to be generating the most heat in Australian football at the moment is the old locals v. Euroroos chestnut, with Pim Verbeek stoking the flames with some perhaps ill-worded comments.

To my mind, the A-League v. European leagues argument has always been a pointless one. The real question is whether the European-based players can acclimatise in time for the game on February 6.

At the Asian Cup, we saw what can happen when a bunch of highly-rated European-based players are chucked into unfamiliar conditions. There was even fair warning with the game against Kuwait in September 2006.

I still maintain that the best general policy for the upcoming Asian qualifiers would be to retain a core of committed European-based players while drawing substantially from the A-League contingent for the home games (those that are played within the A-League season, at any rate). The A-League needs lengthening and we all know it, but while the season lasts, match-fitness in an Australian summer must count for something, considering that several of the Euro players would be enduring a temperature shift of twenty-odd degrees.

On the subject of parochialism, it's disappointing to see that Iraq's subtle, skilful playmaker Nashat Akram has become another victim of the British Home Office's draconian work permit regulations. The arbitrary "Top 70" cutoff is ridiculous (for the record, it would currently exclude an incoming Benni McCarthy, Dwight Yorke, Emmanuel Adebayor or Eidur Gudjohnsen from employment in the Premiership), but no more ridiculous than the "three-quarters of all international games" requirement, which has bedevilled countless fine players over the years.

The Premiership's loss.

Welcome back. you were missed.
First welcome back, you have been missed. Secondly while the a-league certainly isn't at the standard of some of the leagues in Europe it does compare favourably to Asia. Most of our opponents will be playing in leagues at a lower standard than the a-league (IMO). Considering the affect of travel and the change of climate as well as future problems this may create in terms of squad harmony it may well be a big mistake to play the Europeans. That said I'm not an International coach and it is Pim Verbeek's first game so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
Good to have you back.

Hope you had a good trip.
Welcome back Brian.

We have discussed that the league also needs an expansion as well as an extension.

Just wondering, is it sacrilege to want a western Sydney club?
Thanks for the warm welcome.

...Most of our opponents will be playing in leagues at a lower standard than the a-league (IMO)....

I wouldn't underestimate the standard of the leagues in the Gulf...well-established, plenty of decent imports and big bucks behind many of the clubs. The clubs that Sydney and Adelaide played in last year's ACL might have given a less than overwhelming impression of the East Asian leagues, but from what I've heard, the Gulf leagues are not to be sneezed at.
Having lived in Dubai for some time, and been forced to watch regional football on whatever pay tv package I've had, I can assure all that the quality of those local domestic leagues - be they Qatari, UAE, Saudi or whomever - are really nothing great. The pitches are a bit of a leveller, but I would suggest that our A-league is overall superior to the leagues on offer in the Middle East.
Having said that, their skill level is quite superior to that of those in our A-league, and putting these blokes on a decent pitch, would definitely build their confidence levels.
Problem we have, is the ill discipline of our A-leaguers. The number of unforced errors during any local game when balls are given away willy nilly, is deplorable. How blokes like Boogard continue to get a game is beyond me.
Ergo, inconsistents like Millsy and Brosque from SFC have got buckleys of getting a run til they get their acts together.
For my mind, Qatar'll be a lot more worried about us, than we them. Australia by 3 - just watch.
The Poms are a priceless bunch.

You can bring as many foreigners into our league as you like, taking up the spot of our own players in our league, provided

1) They play 75% of international Caps despite the political nature of international selection and the fact that 75% of caps for Brazil is a much more difficult task than, for instance Australia

2) They're from a nation in the top 70 of FIFA's highly dubious rankings system irrespective of obvious disadvantages some nations and confederations have under this system.

And they wonder why they constantly underachieve!
My view is that Pim is covering his downside. If the Socceroos draw or worse, he will have been on record pointing out how unfortunate it was that he had to play A-League players.

My view is that if you take someone's coin, you should have done your homework and accept what you are up against.

My tip is that Pim will join the long long list of people who once coached the socceroos.
Welcome back Mike, hope it all went well.
If the A Leaguers are good enough to beat Qatar well, he wouldn't need to cover his downside.

The point is that we just don't know until the game is done with. Let's not get carried away with this how good we are, how good they are business.

If it has to be the A-Leaguers then at least stick Griffiths and Thompson up front and hope for the best.
I just think it's high time someone provided us with highlight packages or magazine shows at the very least of the various asian leagues.
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