Tuesday, 20 May 2008

It's a ball-buster!

The Aussie World Cup schedule is a "ball-buster," according to Socceroo Jason Culina interviewed by SBS this week.

If Australia get through the next four June World Cup Qualifiers we have six games against the likes of Japan, Iran and Uzbekistan all before December.

Six! That is a ball-buster, Culina is right.

Take a moment

Take a moment to think about Carl Valeri, a player on the rise, hoping I'm sure for a move to a higher league, higher pay, in the next year or so.

He plays his football in Serie B, he's represented Australia at every level, and he's 24 and on the rise.

Captain of his Italian Club that says a lot about the guy.

Last (northern)summer he went to the Asia Cup didn't play, then straight back to Grosseto for pre-season. No break.

This year he's hardly missed a game for his club, then it's more football in June and then back to pre-season. Minimal break, if any.

And then a full season waits plus SIX flights to Australia and Japan etc all before Christmas.

Now I hear people say they must come, it's for Australia. But if Valeri and his mates suffer an injury in that period his whole football career could be put on hold.

If he moves to another club he needs to be fresh to establish himself in a higher league. The chances are minimal given the pressures of the modern Aussie International footballer.

Mark Viduka has had three end of season EPL breaks full of football. And he's struggled like Brett Emerton this year to complete his normal number of games.

These guys have big big contracts. But the guys like Brett Holman, Carl Valeri, Jason Culina all perhaps hopeful of that next move will perhaps be the ones to struggle as a result of Australia's punishing schedule.

In a business where careers are short the likes of Holman and Valeri, both 24, need to move on, to a higher club if they are to make really good money from their playing careers. As yet I suspect the wages might be good, but not of the Harry Kewelll and co's proportions.

The schedule is demanding. The prize the World Cup is worth it. But those that make the journey next Aussie spring may not get to the World Cup.

Due to injuries or team selections.

Who would care about their plight as Australia march on Jo'burg.

Some players must be doubting our Asia move. Not the fans of course.

June has seen and will see a lot of withdrawals, wait until August, September and November. Qantas profits may go down!

It's a ball-buster, Jason Culina has called it!

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