Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Canberra A-League Coach?

Canberra A-League Ambassador Aaron Walker gives the lowdown "Who will be our Canberra A-League Coach." Great stuff, feel free to add your views.

With Canberra’s A-League bid rapidly gathering momentum, I thought I’d address the big question of who are the most likely candidates for the coaching position?

I have gone through and outlined the pros and cons of a few likely contenders.

Graham Arnold

Pros: Should Arnold leave the FFA coaching set up, no doubt he’ll be on the lookout for an A-League coaching opportunity, and his greatest asset could well be his football connections. This is actually a big selling point to potential suitors. Much the same as Farina has done, Graham will have the player connections and friendships to get early dibs on Socceroos returning from overseas.

Cons: His teams have a history of playing questionable football and achieving limited results. His penchant for a physical style of football could also make him an unpopular choice with fans.
Verdict: No thanks.

Branko Culina

Pros: The former Canberra Cosmos coach has a strong CV in Australian club football and likes to install an attractive movement-based style of play in his teams. The appointment would also put the club in the driving seat to recruit son Jason, who has publicly stated his desire to come back to Australia while he is still in the peak of his career.

Cons: A diminishing coaching reputation after a less than successful stint with Sydney could work against him.
Verdict: A strong contender. Branko is still openly seeking employment in coaching and would desperately love the opportunity. The club could do a lot worse.

Tom Sermanni

Pros: Working in Sermanni’s favour is his strong ties to the Canberra region. After finishing up with the struggling Canberra Cosmos after the club folded, Sermanni has gone on to a successful stint in the United States Professional Soccer League where he was named in the top three coaches. Sermanni is currently in charge of the Female AIS football program and Australian women’s national team, the Matildas, which included their 2007 World Cup campaign where the team made the knockout rounds for the first time in their history.

Cons: Unfortunately in Canberra, Sermanni will chiefly be remembered for being in charge of a woeful Cosmos team that struggled on and off the pitch. This stigma will not make him a popular choice in the local Canberra football community.
Verdict: A strong possibility.

Ned Zelic

Pros: When it comes to football reputations in Australia, few come bigger than Ned Zelic. In the twilight of his playing career, Zelic may well wish to turn his hand to coaching when he finally pulls the pin, and where better to start than where his football career all began – Canberra. This is one former Canberra boy who local fans would welcome home with open arms. To further boost Ned’s chances, he has already pledged his support to the bid by becoming a ‘Foundation Member’ of the Canberra A-League bid.

Cons: A lack of coaching experience could count against him.
Verdict: Don’t be surprised to see the return of Canberra’s prodigal football son.

Nick Theodorakopoulos

Pros: Like Culina, Theodorakopoulos is an old hand of Australian club coaching who is likely on the hunt for an A-League coaching position. Former glories with former NSL clubs like Parramatta Power, who finished runners up in the final year of the competition, suggest he may still have something to offer.

Cons: Also like Culina, Nick Theodorakopoulos had a disastrous and brief spell in charge of an A-League team when he took the reigns at the Newcastle jets for the start of the 2006 season. After seven rounds without recoding a single win, Theodorakopoulos was relieved of his duties. This will not bear well for his coaching employment prospects.
Verdict: Outside chance.

Damian Mori
Pros: The all-time Socceroos leading goal scorer and evergreen striker has long made his intentions known to enter the coaching arena. After a stellar career in Australian club football Mori has experienced some success with South Australian Champions Adelaide City. He also had a brief stint as Assistant Coach at Perth Glory in 2005.

Cons: Mori is yet to achieve in coaching what he has as a player. With experience limited mostly to state league coaching his name might not be on the top of any A-League clubs wish list.

Verdict: A strong contender looking to make his mark.

Robbie Hooker

Pros: While Matildas Head Coach Tom Sermanni may be reluctant to leave his post, his assistant Robbie Hooker may be another option. Since retiring from playing after a short period with the Canberra Cosmos, this former Socceroo has stayed in the region to develop his coaching career. As well as being assistant coach of the Australian Women’s team Hooker is also in charge of the ACT Academy of Sport where he oversees the development of local talent.

Cons: With no real head coach experience in club football, Hooker may be better suited to the role of assistant or youth team coach of the club.

Verdict: Very unlikely.

1 comment:

Andy said...

My vote would be for Tommy Sermanni. He took over when the Cosmos were at their absolute worst (after that clown Rale Rasic had his disastrous run) and brought back a bit of respectability to the club. He also did quite well when he was in charge of Sydney Olympic. Top man.

As for Culina... he had by far the biggest budget of all the Cosmos coaches... and brought pathetic results.