Another World Cup over. A new nation crowned champions. Another lesson for Australian soccer? I do hope so. How can we, a football mino, become champions of the world?

There has been a lot of talk of getting a better coach after Pim Verbeek's struggles in this campaign but I'm not liking the smell of that cheese. Yes, we will need a new coach but in four, even eight years time, what are our players going to be like? We might get lucky! We might have 10 Harry Kewell's and 3 Schwarzer's, but i doubt it. 

We are a sporting nation, and in turn, expect big things from all our sporting teams. Why have we dominated world cricket? Rugby union? League? Tennis? Swimming? The list goes on! Apologies if I've left out your preferential vote.  

We are dominating these sports because as kids, we all love to play them. What Aussie kid hasn't played cricket in the back yard? Hell I don't even like the sport, in fact, I find it one of the most boring in the world, and even I, can hold my own on the pitch, whether it be with bat or ball, why? Because of my constant exposure and practice at a young age. 

This goes for all sports in which we are world contenders. In my travels to Germany and just recently South Africa for Socceroos supporting duties, I spoke to many people of much more mature football cultures, namely Brazilians and Germans. 
In Germany we went out every day and found a random soccer pitch beautifully covered with astroturf in almost every town we visited. Kids, teens and grown men were all playing against each other just for fun. 

I was amazed at the amount of people playing soccer all over the country. In Australia during the summer the friggin goals get taken down! So you cant even go to a field and kick a friggin goal! Because there all bloody gone. I talked to a bunch of Brazilians just a couple of weeks ago in SA. I asked them why? WHY ARE YOU GUYS SO FREAKISHLY AWESOME! I mean these guys were 18, 19 year olds and would easily slot into the Socceroos team in any position. 

I consider myself an adequate player, having played Futsal and outdoor all my life. These guys schooled the lot of us and I mean SCHOOLED(we had a friendly match on some random Johannesburg school field). As they shattered my somewhat massive ego, I thought to myself I've played all my life... 3, some years, 4 times a week and I cant touch these kids.  

They told me that they hated playing on a full field "too much running" I was confused... Ronaldo... Kaka.... Ronaldinho! All play at the highest level and at one time or another have been named best in the world. He saw my face(WTF KID?) and went on to explain how kids in brazil grow up only playing one game, football. They play not to increase their fitness or to win a game no no... 

They play to make it look beautiful. The more tricks you can do the more popular you are. Every Brazilian kids dream is to play football. Now I'm not suggesting we kill all our other sports and only raise kids on soccer, but do you get where I'm heading with this little debate? It's grass roots people, we have the answer its been proven in all our other sporting codes. 

This is not news to most of us I'm sure, but someone needs to implement a strategy to go forward. Its not only a good coach that will help you win World Cup's, you need culture. You need a nation who understands what it is to play football and play it well. Fitness and speed, something Australian's have in abundance, are no match for football finesse. Football intelligence and football culture.

We can become world champions. It's not gonna happen over night. It's probably not gonna happen for a good 40 years, but we can do it if we adapt to the football culture that will take us there. 

1 comment:

  1. I Hear you friend. Loud and Clear