I had the opportunity recently, thanks to National Technical Director Han Berger, to attend an A License refresher course. As well as catching up with some old team mates such as Mehmet Durakovic and Gary Phillips, it was good to get an update on the direction we're heading in coaching. The new curriculum is well presented and impressive and it was great to be on the 5 day course. I will draw on quite a lot of it in my ongoing work in PNG. Thanks again to Han.
It also reinforces the necessity of getting high quality coaching at every level of the game which is a big issue for volunteer coaches at community level and also at the more senior, professional levels. First, the cost and time commitment can be prohibitive, especially for community coaches. Second, unfortunately, the football market isn't big enough yet to give a meaningful full time job to all those who want it professionally.
Hopefully the new broadcast deal will help push this along further and mean that more people can pursue coaching opportunities at less cost. Rather than coach development being a revenue raiser for federations, it should be an investment in the future.
I agree with national coach Holger Osieck that it's tough for him to select players at the moment.
The off-season is much too long in terms of elite player development and that is compounded by young guys who should be getting the opportunity to play at A-League level being kept out by some of the visa players. I think the question has to be asked whether some of these visa players - obviously not all - really justify keeping out young Aussie players who need to become match hardened and get much more professional experience in order to push for selection. By way of comparison, when I was first picked for the national team 28 years ago as a 19 year old, I was in my second season in the national soccer league.
Like everyone, I'm looking forward to the A-League season which gets underway tomorrow. Obviously the big 3 signings of Emile Heskey, Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono bring some glamour and excitement to the competition which was sorely needed. They're all great signings but of the 3 from a playing perspective, I am most impressed with Heskey's signing: if he plays as an out-and-out number 9, I think he'll do well for Newcastle Jets.
I don't want to sound like I'm sitting on the fence, but it's too early to predict what's going to happen before a ball has been kicked! But, if you look at the clubs that have remained relatively stable in terms of maintaining their playing group with just a few additions here and there, it's hard to go past the Grand Finalists again from last season - Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory. Melbourne Victory also falls into that category after a fairly tumultuous season in 2011 and Ange will be a steadying influence in the club in which there are always great expectations.
We are football!
Until next time!
Note from Frank
It's a game of opinions and I've always thought everyone's entitled to theirs.