Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Australia head to Asian Cup Final

Two young Aussies knocked on my door at 3.20am this morning. Two young footballers without Fox.

And myself and their Dad cheered long and loud when Harry Kewell scored after five minutes.

It was tense as the Uzbeks had 70% of possession but the space in attack for Australia was surprising but for this supporter who's seen Bahrain, Iraq, Korea and of course Germany and others limit our opportunities over the last six months. It was delightful that we were able to exploit it.

And exploit we did.

Our first final - I don't count Oceania - since the Confederations Cup Final way back in the 90's.

Realistically we may never get a World Cup Final in my lifetime, or yours, but an Asian final? Who would bet against us on home soil next time - at least getting to the final again.

Matt McKay showed alongside David Carney, Sasa Ognenovski, Robbie Kruse, and Mile Jedinak that Aussies are now being produced through the A-League - to the required standard - in droves.

Imagine a midfielder like Matt McKay who's running is Emerton-esque his touch more subtle than the big fella and to all those EPL Snobs Matt is so good he kept the Blackburn man, a wonderful player, on the bench.

Wonder what Pim would say?

Did Pim ever think over his term of using Harry and Tim Cahill upfront, as a partnership?

And isn't it great to see McKay, Robbie Kruse (a forward) Neil Kilkenny all coming into contention for the next four year campaign.

Encouraging signs for Australia - surely we can improve under Holger, surely over the next few years we'll have a few more stars competing for places, and surely the standard will slowly rise, in time.

But remember the previous games - not all in our favour - apart from the results! But Japan will be a different game won't it?

The young fellas left for Australia Day having seen history made on the field by the team who play the game they play.

Australia in the Asian Cup Final.

Australian football in Asia. We've never had it so good. Enjoy the final, should be a cracker.


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Nearpost Podcast: We love Muscat the Asian City not the player!

Paddy, Aaron and Nick are on the pitch and up for the Asian Cup: Can the Aussies win? Are you happy with the squad and of course all the A-League news.

How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Asia Cup Semi tonight - future looking more settled?

Tonight's the night. Asian Cup Semi and the Uzbek manager reckons we're not as good as we used to be!

We know that but the guys who have come through in this tournament with a future in the Green and Gold at some level include:

Matt McKay
Mile Jedinak
Neil Kilkenny
Sasa Ognenovski

So we've found four players, we may find more, not World beaters but competent with others around them to get us to a World Cup - we need to be top four in Asia - this we are, but with Harry and Timmy getting older and many many games going our way when they could easily of gone the other...our future is still perhaps brighter than some of us thought - maybe!

We can compete in Asia - can we get a World Cup spot with this squad - that's for another day. It'll be very close!

We've still got many many young players to come through, Rhys Williams, Dario Vidosic are just two who have shown their quality in the Aussie shirt, there will be others pushing hard as we aim to bridge that gap between 2010 and 2014 in terms of player experience and quality.

Tonight it will come down to Mark Schwarzer - it always does, doesn't it?

If the big man plays his normal game - saves us from certain defeat time and time again the rest of the team has enough quality to win the game 1-0!


Monday, 24 January 2011

Dare to Dream: Young Canberran desperate to make it!

Players will do anything to make it in Professional Football.

And any player from Canberra needs to work a little harder, have a little more belief, and support, than players from the big Aussie A-League cities.

Checkout former Woden Valley junior local boy Nick Humphrey, now living in Hungary, and his desire to succeed. All the best Nick!


Sunday, 23 January 2011

Big Bash cricket flops, Aussie Tennis hyped but football is the winner......

Now we know the coverage the tennis gets, even the cricket on Free-To-Air but it was the hidden A-League that gets the biggest crowd in Melbourne last night.

What would we get if we could increase the media coverage, fta coverage etc etc.

A-League Melbourne Victory Vs Melbourne Heart Crowd: 32,231
Twenty/20 Big Bash Victoria Vs New South Wales Crowd: 17,118
Australia Open Rod Laver Arena night session Crowd 26,000 (approx according to Channel Seven)

And I reckon the 20/20 Big Bash will soar - then die - as crowds reject the novelty. Cricket fans like cricket, test cricket and the rest of us will follow the one day or 20/20 until it all becomes a they eventually do.


Nearpost advice: Tony Tannous is on Twitter - Follow him!

Why wouldn't you.


Canberra footballer wins Nike Professional Contract - still no pathway in the Capital

FourFourTwo are reporting

ACT starlet Tom Rogic said he was stunned and elated after winning one of eight professional contracts at the Nike Academy in England announced in London on Saturday night.

First Chris Bush gets an A-League contract with the Brisbane Roar - now Tom Rogic scores an amazing contract, one of eight, and he was up against the Rest of the World!

What makes it more amazing is Tom is from Canberra - a city without a Professional Football team, a Professional Youth set-up and only a part-time local football competition.

How many more could Canberra football develop? FFA, Capital Football, ACT Clubs - who dares wins!


Salute the A-League - salute Matt McKay

Harry did it in the last minute but for most of us followers of Aussie football it was Matt McKay the Aussie who roared.


Technically adept, swift of foot and can he run. In the modern game you need a motor, in the international game you need an exceptional motor, especially in midfield.

McKay has this. Look at the times he got beyond the forwards, look at how he moved his feet, the ball, swiftly away from opposition feet. Technically sound - and he plays in the A-League!

And with 118 minutes gone the mobile McKay again found space against a tiring but entertaining Iraq and he swung in a delightful ball for Kewell to score.

In that moment the A-League came of age.

This wasn't Craig Moore or Jason Culina, returning Socceroos who play A-League and made huge contributions to the Socceroos.

This was Matt McKay, current Brisbane Roar star, who has played the last six years in the first six years of the A-League.

Yet here he was good enough to be among the men of the match in an Asia Cup Quarter Final.

With Big Sas, Mile Jedinak, David Carney and co all making huge contributions, all A-League knock the A-League at your peril.

With the A-League standard on the rise how long before we see more Aussies placed straight into the Socceroos before they head overseas.

The game takes another step.


Great weekend for Australian football

Aussie football is dead, long live Aussie football.

Australia produced a performance at the Asia Cup, good enough, just to sneak into the Asia Cup Semi Finals for the first time.

Sure it was close but Matt McKay, Sas Ognenovski, David Carney, Mile Jedinak and Nathan Burns were a few of the A-League made players who are not comfortable in the Green and Gold.

Harry Kewell has now played four games in a tournament and despite some journo's writing him off he still had quality and fitness to be in the right place and the right time in the 118th minute.

Not bad - Mike Cockerill and Robbie Slater take note.

A semi to look forward to.

And in Australia 32,000 watched the Melbourne Derby, 15,000 at The Gold Coast, a record crowd and 11,000 saw scintillating football from Adelaide.

With Aussies in demand across Asia - our future transfer funds/revenues are secured.

All in all a marvellous week for Australian football - enjoy the Uzbek game!


Saturday, 22 January 2011

Australia v Iraq

Adelaide thumped the Fury 8-1 with some fantastic goals. Watch them, they were beautiful with a forward four to die for, and then Matthew Leckie steps on to the field.

Brisbane won't have the finals all their own way.

With the Melbourne Derby followed by the biggest game in Australia football for some years, World Cup a side.

Australia in a do-or-die game, Quarter Final of Asian Cup against holders Iraq.

Can we do it?

Yes we can!


Canberra more stars - still no team!

FourFourTwo are reporting

Unknown ACT teenager Tom Rogic has caught the eye of professional European coaches at Nike's Chance trials ahead of the final 32 being announced later today London time.

The fertile ground of football development known as Canberra continues to produce, over-produce quality players despite little FFA or Capital Football support or leadership for our post-15 age group - of boys.

With Luke Pilkington, Chris Bush, Kofi Danning, Sam Munro, Tom Rogic, Stephen Lustica, Andrew Baresic just a few of the young Canberra guns pushing into the A-League Youth and Professional set-up you'd have to think those numbers would TRIPLE if we had a set-up in our own impoverished town.

Capital Football need to lead and assist - in setting up an A-League Youth team. How they do it, who runs it? Questions for them.


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Big in Korea - but did I make sense

Heard it all before? 7 minutes of the Nearpost talking to Korea and Seoul eFm last Friday prior to the Australia Korea game.

Did I make sense?

or play right from your computer....


Football nonsense: Miron the monkey? Clive the clown, or Ange the ...

Heard the one about the A-League club struggling for crowds and funds?

Yep at seasons end Gold Coast United bring in Shane Smeltz, Korean import Sung-Kil Kim and Bundesliga player Peter Perchtold. That's expensive, less expensive and probably expensive.

But on 2500 fans and trying to engage the community Chris Harald, Youth Team Captain Stephen Lustica and others miss out. Great strategy Miron.

And you are running at a loss by how much?

But not everyone is foolish - anymore.

Take table topping Brisbane Roar - lose Reinaldo a star striker and replace him with an 18 year old from the Youth team. And a midfielder at that.

You keep within your cost structure, you encourage every Youth team player at the club, and the guy is so fit he'll fit right in to the Roar philosophy. After all he's been training and playing all year with the Champions-elect

Miron the monkey? Clive the clown, or Ange the Aussie Coach of the Year.


Another Canberran takes a step

Goulburn and Canberra Football ace Chris Bush scores Hyundai A-League deal

No team in Canberra but still we produce plenty of talent!

From the Brisbane Roar website:

Brisbane Roar Youth captain Chris Bush has been rewarded for his inspirational performances in the National Youth League, signing a Hyundai A-League contract with the league leaders until the end of the current season.

A product of the Australian Institute of Sport, Bush was given the opportunity from Head Coach Ange Postecoglou after a spot on the roster opened up following last month’s departure of Brazilian-born striker Reinaldo.

The 18-year-old has worn the skipper’s armband for the Brisbane Roar Youth side in just his first season at the club, a telling indication of his commitment, passion and technical ability according to Postecoglou.

“Bushy has worked hard all year, he’s really earned his spot,” the Brisbane boss said.

“He’s been outstanding for the youth team and really suits our style of game so I’m pleased to have him on board.”

Bush agreed with his coach’s observations, naming the leadership of the youth squad and the belief of the Brisbane Roar coaching staff as the main catalysts to his confidence and in turn, dominant football displays.

“I’m really looking forward to it and I’m appreciative of the chance that Ange has given me,” he said.

“Getting the captaincy made me want to improve more and lead the team well, I think my form in the youth league definitely helped me get this opportunity.”

Not afraid to take control of the midfield battle and a constant menace to opposition defences, Bush has been an integral part of the Brisbane’s National Youth League side’s rise to second place on the ladder.

A similar type of player to current club captain Matt McKay and midfield workhorse Massimo Murdocca, Postecoglou tipped Bush as a star of Brisbane’s future who would flourish under the guidance of the older squad members as the Roar look ahead to their final fixtures of the season.

“We’re giving him an opportunity now, it’s up to him to work hard and take the next step,” he said.

“He’s very similar to Massimo and Matty, they’re busy, hardworking midfielders and good technically as well.”

The Brisbane coach had no doubts that if needed, Bush was more than capable to stepping up to Hyundai A-League level given his high work rate and leadership qualities that he has displayed both in the National Youth League and on the training paddock.

“It’s up to him to keep working hard and with Matty (McKay) at the Asian Cup we don’t really have a lot of depth,” Postecoglou said.

“I guess it’s just about opportunity – he’s been working hard and I’m sure he’ll be ready if one comes his way.”

Bush said if the chance to don a Hyundai A-League jersey fell his way, he wouldn’t let it slip away without a fight.

“If I do get the opportunity, I just want to grab it with both hands.”


Australia limp on in Asia - hands up who's young enough to play 6 games

Australia beat Bahrain 1-0 thanks to a Mile Jedinak strike but the real concern is the wounded soldiers, some limping, some suspended, some just ageing.

Did anyone really think Harry Kewell could play six games straight?

Well he's up to three, but he's showing signs of slowing. Meanwhile Brett Emerton pulled his Croatia 2006 World Cup trick, getting booked for nothing on the eve of our most important game in a while - watch Iraq or Iran just like Italy pour down the Aussie left next game.

Tim Cahill went off injured, Luke Wilkshire, David Carney, Jason Culina, and Brett Emerton could all miss the next game - that's half a team.

Matt McKay did okay at left back - but as expected he was and will be cruelly exposed as the games get tougher. Similarly Jade North - though he was better than McKay.

Mark Schwarzer saved the day as ever. Doesn't he always?

Mile Jedinak and Carl Valeri both played well in parts and that's the problem. Parts.

When Bahrain took control, the Aussie midfield took too long to grasp possession back. Jedinak continues to lose possession too quickly, hits it too long, too wild, on too many go occasions, and embarrasses himself by shouting his frustration every time he does it (he must get tired.) Is he really a man to win an Asian Cup?

Hard to see, but loving his power and goals. These are certainly encouraging performances from the Jedi and will hold us in goodstead for the next World Cup Qualifiers.

Australia had some purple patches, unfortunately so did Bahrain, and when Neil Kilkenny came on, the passing and ball control went up a notch.

However it was Bahrain, like Korea, and even occasionally India who were more inventive, technically adept in parts, who threatened the Aussie goal time and time again.

Enjoy the next game - it could be our last!

That said we've yet to concede, could be good enough to win, but will not dominate from here on in.

If we can't get any of the five above back you'd expect a possible defeat in the next game, but if it's Japan in the semi finals Australia will not have a hope.

Let's not cry injuries.

You are only ever as good as your squad, and most Aussie fans have known for a while we're relying on a few oldies. The next group are not ready...yet.

Mark Viduka anyone? or Matthew Leckie....pity the firebrand isn't here for a cameo.


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Nearpost: A-League over Asia. Football at it's best.

We still love Asia:

Paddy, Aaron and Nick Compton (Welcome Nick) are on the pitch and up for the Asian Cup:

Due to time of show airing we've left the Aussie Bahrain aside - for now - and focused mostly on the A-League, it's all happening here.

How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Saturday, 15 January 2011

Aussie pride maintained.....but three old fellas crocked already!

Australia drew 1-1 with Korea in it's crucial Asian Cup Qualifier last night.

A strong performance from the Australia team, particularly at times in the final third showed enough to suggest that the triumverate of Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill and the mobile Brett Holman could see them yet into the final.

It won't be easy but if Korea with their mobility, skill, and youth couldn't see off the Aussies - you wonder who can.

The loss of Luke Wilkshire, David Carney and Jason Culina, if confirmed will be a massive blow in this tournament.

But will allow the further development of players so crucial to the next set of World Cup Qualifiers.

Harry Kewell was superb, Tim Cahill did what he does and Brett Holman assisted with his energy and intelligent runs.

So many Socceroo fans have written Holman off - not me, never.

Sasa Ognenovski was passable, good in parts, but agricultural at times. Lucas Neill has another great game, Carney and Wilkshire important throughout.

Of course Mark Schwarzer saved the day, once more, but Australia also had enough chances to win.

Mile Jedinak had his best game in the green and gold capping it with a fine goal. He still gives the ball away to easily, but this was still his best game!

Overall as good as a performance as one could expect. Full of grit and determination, and skill and energy at appropriate times.

Korea were the more inventive, slightly. Threatened more, but Australia posed many many problems for the Korea side.

A betting man would look for Korea to improve more.

But the front three could do the trick for Australia, and it will take a couple of new players to rise above the mediocre if Australia are to improve on tonights result.

Can Matt McKay step up? Is Jade North ready to play to his full potential? Can Carl Valeri and Mile Jedinak really take us to Asian Cup glory.

A good performance from Australia, our best under Osiek - but still not good enough to win, not good enough to dominate.

It could be harder still with a stretched squad - can the ageing legs go seven games.

After last nights walking wounded, you'd think not!


Friday, 14 January 2011

Nearpost on eFM Seoul, Korea in 1 minutes...

Thanks to Johnroar for the link!

Talking football to our Korean friends ahead of the clash tonight.

Go Australia!

Thoughts pre-game:

Could Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill and Brett Holman be the key to victory? If so we could build a platform for the tournament - we'll see.

Will the defence hold out? Possibly but unlikely.

Will Mile Jedinak get hold of and keep the ball, consistently? Unlikely.


Thursday, 13 January 2011

What do FFA think of Mrs Wensing. Fozzie: Here's a case study on FFA Engagement

What do the FFA think of Mrs Wensing? 80 years of age, she went out of her way to sign the A-League4Canberra supporters pledge in 2009. The FFA could not have cared less.

Fozzie has spoken.

At the recent inaugural fans forum in Sydney, a marvellous initiative btw, to look at and solve the problems facing football in Australia.

Fozzie states: We have not engaged enough people.... one and a half million who play, five or six million who care about the game....we (The FFA and Clubs) have simply not engaged them.

We don't leverage our community.

And how right he is. It takes work, short and long-term initiatives, to open our ears and eyes to the football community. The football community that will never reduce. So let's get to work

And of course the football community is the business community. Everyone plays, everyone's child is playing etc etc. We are connected through football - we just have to be smarter.

What organisation wouldn't die for our connections?

And how quickly, if we get it right, we could see the fans flooding back.

Is it that hard to get another 50,000 in Melbourne, 32,000 in Brisbane, 25,000 in Sydney, 23,000 in Newcastle, 18,000 in Central Coast etc etc. Sure it looks like it right now but I don't believe it is.

Not with clever engagement, a real vibe, and a valuing and leveraging of our football community. Our grassroots players, our grassroots friends and parents, their friends, our Socceroos and Matildas supporters, our EPL followers, our NSL, VPL and State League followers and of course our rusted on A-League followers.

Would these people rather support football or knock it? Everyone would support something visionary, something inspirational.

Much as they did in Canberra - despite the strong smell of the Cosmos still in the room and in town with League and Union entrenched. Getting grassroots support was no problem

Over 100 Ambassadors signed up - two from every club in the region - I know I rang them. It took 100 phone calls. No-one rejected the idea that they would be the Canberra A-League Ambassador for their club - no-one.

And that's what Fozzie is talking about. Engagement, building community.

We bring our football people together and we're powerful - a resource. Getting more people to A-League games is our single most powerful tool.

In Canberra the FFA has done something that shows they have NO FUCKING IDEA how to engage the grassroots community to grow the game.

The A-League4Canberra bid made great strides, building community, overturning the "Cosmos factor" culminating in 20,000 people turning out to watch an A-League based Socceroos team take on Kuwait. A record crowd.

We had something to build on. The FFA had something to build on. A community working to build football, that's their business isn't it. And we mugs were doing it for them, for free!

The FFA threw a wonderful opportunity in Canberra out the window, completely diregarding the work the locals had done to grow the vibe - with the A-League bid gathering 15,000 signatures and from one who stood outside various centres in Canberra getting sign-ups - it was easy.

I with the other volunteers could have got 100,000 signatures for a football team in Canberra. Such is the size of the community, such is the army of supporters, volunteers, such was the goodwill.

The FFA didn't want that grassroots support!

The FFA response was simply astonishing.

The FFA simply did not care. Could not see a way to assist this community to build towards a professional team. And if Canberra can't get a team, well there aren't many other options are there?

Reap what they sow? Sadly they have.

But with the renewed vigour, grassroots renewal we can grow the game stronger, and quickly.

After all we are already connected - just not through the turnstiles. Not yet.


Nearpost loves Craig Foster Part One

Craig Foster building football - on his own. Check the video from around the 13th minute to hear Fozzie on the Southern Cross Uni development in his home town of Lismore. Video link

Fozzie is an Australian visionary, not just a football visionary.

His football education and development centre based at Lismore will become a magnet for football fans, students of the game, coaches, football administrators.

A leader of its field in Australia, Pacific and Asia the University of Lismore has taken advantage of Fozzie's vision.

Wonderful. And the money is starting to flow.

The future football lovers currently playing the game in the junior ranks will benefit, like no other Aussie football players and lovers of any generation.

Fozzie is a legend. No ifs no buts!


Australia v Korea Republic: Heart over head.....Aussies to win.

Really looking forward to this mouth-watering clash as are the Koreans if you go by the numbers of Koreans posting on Aussie blogs!

Young fast and mobile with players, that's Korea, playing in big leagues in Europe against an Aussie team ageing and in decline.

Korea thumped Australia 3-1 earlier this year in Seoul and it could be a similar night tomorrow. This game was marked by the mobility of a pacy Korean side.

Korea will not be over-awed by Australia - not anymore, if they ever were.

Australia's inability to keep the ball under Holger Osiek will not be helped with Mile Jedinak in a key midfield role as expected. Physical he can do, ball retention - not so good.

And Australia will need Brett Holman and Emerton to be at their mobile best - hoping Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell can hold the ball and score.

Don't be surprised to see Cahill dropping deep early on with Kewell upfront on his own. Surely Osiek will try to limit our weaknesses.

Are we so good, so sure of our back six that we can push two high. I'd be surprised.

The Aussie team is not settled, hasn't performed well since the World Cup, bar a few high balls into boxes against Paraquay, India and co, and while we should be good enough to beat most Asian teams - my head says Korea should win convincingly again, just as they did earlier in the year.

An Australian defence pourous and slow will be at sixes and sevens, unless we pack the midfield, a la Pim.

But of course Australia has the quality to win, the Cahill like passion and skill can work magic at times.

How Australia and Holger, responds to the Korea challenge will be fascinating.

Can't wait, let's hope we keep 11 on the park, that's the pitch not the player.

When I came to Australia it wasn't Australia's participation at World Cups I missed it was the ongoing football journey of competitive internationals and tournaments.

India was awesome, Korea is the real deal.

How great it will be to play Korea competitively once again, as I'm sure we will be in many Asia Cup and World Cup Qualifiers in years to come. Joy!


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Asia Cup: Our last hurrah

Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill, Jason Culina, Mark Schwarzer will not be in Brazil.

One or maybe two might - if Australia get there.

So this is really the last hurrah for these guys, as a team.

Let's hope they can build on the India game. They certainly look more prepared than the previous Asia Cup in Thailand.

The heat, end of season timing and World Cup let-down played it's part that time.
This time the team appear fresh - mid-season for most - and maybe that will be enough to get them beyond the Quarters.

Last time we were poor but still only lost to Japan on penalties. This time let's hope we can go one or two better.

I'd love to see Harry running around with the Cup. Great end to a wonderful career.


Nearpost Podcast: Asia Cup, W-League, A-League

We still love Asia:

Paddy,and Eamonn are on the pitch and up for the Asian Cup: Can the Aussies win? Are you happy with the squad and of course all the A-League news. We review the India game, preview Korea and of course the rampaging Reds.

How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Plan to save the game - let's meet Sydney!

How come all the organisers of football, the media, the FFA, the whole lot of em run everything out of Sydney...or so it seems.

So tonights plan to "Save the Game" or some other such football fanfest, while of course an interesting intiative - but we hold it in Sydney.

Reckon Adelaide would have been better - at least they'd get a few fans!

Lugt will take part in a panel discussion with Craig Foster (SBS), Mark Bosnich (Fox Sports), Sebastian Hassett (SMH), Andy Jackson (442) and Spencer Prior (former EPL player) before the panel then takes questions from the floor.


Mike and Robbie not meeting Harry?

Anyone else notice Harry Kewell smiling just a little more in Qatar....hmmn than say at the World Cup.

With Robbie Slater sent to watch Central Coast Mariners, (is that in Qatar?) and Mike Cockerill yet to send a report for the SMH (is he commentating?) I'm beginning to wonder if Harry has bigger powers than we thought or the Mike and Robbie are running for cover!

I'm sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation.


Ali Cook on fire in Futsal Nationals.

Watched the ACT Under 12 girls in their battle with NSW Thunder, last years winners, last nigt.
3-3 and a fantastic game of Futsal at the National Championships in Canberra.

Two absolute thunderbolts from ACT star Ali Cook brought the house down; mind you the NSW keeper was unbelievable throughout.

Both teams played wonderful Futsal.


Matildas on track?

Rumour is the Matildas will have just two friendlies at this stage, in May prior to the World Cup.

Surely they'll have more?

And the new Matildas Assistant Coach - Spencer Prior, former Norwich City, recent Fox Sports and Australian arrival and recent completion of all his Coaching Badges.

Heard it here first didn't ya! Must be true then.


Remember Pim on Friday

Playing Korea Friday. A great team. Great players.

Bet we don't play two up front.

Bet Holger does a Pim.

Bet Aussie media crucify him if we lose.

Team needs Australian support despite the result or else after the Ashes media barrage we really are a nation of whinging starts with Aussie media's stupid expectations of our players ability.

No Champions League players in your squad - fair chance then for any Asian opponent.


Aussie depth exposed - but we won!

Australia beat 142 ranked India 4-0 in the Asian Cup opener.

A rusty Asutralia relied on the old fellas, Tim Cahill (2), Harry Kewell (1), and Brett Emerton to create and score most of our goals. Brett Holman scored the other.

A comfortable win amd one which sets us up for the massive game with Korea on Friday.

Australia still look clumsy and slow in their ball movement under Holger Osiek and will surely be exposed in our defensive third against the fluid and technically superior Koreans.

But Australia's first true test since the World Cup should be a great game. Can't see us dominating possession after last night so could be in for a very nervous 90.

Let's hope no-one gets sent off and Mr Scharwzer is up for it.

And if you like the ball high and often into the box Holger is looking like your man.
Type rest of the post here


Monday, 10 January 2011

Australia awaits - Adelaide stunning - lovin the game

Nothing better than watching Australia play in an International Tournament. And tonight it's Aussies v India.

Can't wait. No matter how good or otherwise India are meant to be, this is a game that has to be won, and to set us up nicely for the cracker against Korea.

One player up front, maybe on Friday, surely not tonight as Australia go for broke.

I'm not expecting too much but still will be great to see the team in action.

Meanwhile in Melbourne yesterday.

What a fantastic game of entertaining attacking football. Is it the stadium? Or are all teams playing better in the Aami stadium because the crowd is so big, so close?

Hindmarsh seems to bring out similar entertainment. Flores helps of course!

And Musky off - nice one!


Nearpost - er now we have newspaper....

Not sure of the value but it took three seconds to make the Nearpost Newspaper - beat that SMH!


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Grassroots 2011: Twitter results service, Sporting Pulse, Online Payments Research

FFA talk Grassroots - I walk it.

My local club Majura FC are working towards an improved website, launched in a couple of weeks, which will aim to be an information portal, of course, but we also have a few ideas to experiment with; simple technical skill development for kids online, online payment system for parents and development of an online shop.

Got other ideas, I'm all ears. The more creative the better! Read on.

Twitter: Yes, we will update game cancellations but also wondering if we could have a twitter page sit on our website where players and parents could send in their scores and scorers after a game. Anyone from the club could then check club scores on a Saturday night.

Sporting Pulse: This website is available for all clubs. And a good idea for clubs who have limited time and resources. But they will take a fee for each online transaction. That doesn't sit too easily with me. Also not sure local clubs will benefit beyond the free hosting, easy site etc.

That'll work for some but the site looks ugly with all its advertising, but a good solution for some - maybe. Canberra Clubs need financial benefits long-term - at the moment Sporting Pulse aren't offering direct financial benefits to club through purchasing power. One for the future maybe.

Online Payments:
We've investigated the payment options and costs.

Unless you have a deal with a Bank, costs are quite significant, (eg Com Bank approx $300 set-up and $60 a month on going costs, plus 1.6% transaction fee, plus 30 cents each time. Don't ask me why!

So the best method for us is:

BSB and Account number allowing players to pay online,(we'll have form to sit alongside it so players can put FFA identifier and fee to assist us check, plus we'll have PayPal for the e-Shop.

PayPal - costs are 2.4% per transaction plus 30c unless you are ATO exempt then it's 1.1%.

An initially small online shop will sit behind the website, and players can use PayPal and/or Bank Transfer options.

Of course long-term if we could sell all our boots and gear - football might actually take off in Canberra. Keep watching!

All ideas at this stage, we're all volunteers and we'll see how we adapt and grow.


Nearpost big in Seoul

Well wouldn't you just know it!

When efm, the only English speaking radio station in Seoul, Korea (pop 20 million) through it's Current Affairs program The Evening Show wanted someone to talk to from Australia next week ahead of the Australia v Korea Republic game....

they could have chose Denis Commetti, Peter Fitzsimons, Rebecca Wilson, Andrew Demitriou, Greg Inglis, Ricky Ponting and co.....

but no they chose the Nearpost. 9pm live on Friday. Streamed here


Friday, 7 January 2011

Australia in Asia. Are we there yet?

The AFC ExCo features 10 new faces after the elections for several positions and not an Aussie made the list. So still no Australian on the AFC Executive Committee!

No expertise in sport or football - you're kidding right?

Check the full list below New AFC Executive Committee

Doha: The 24th Asian Football Confederation Congress closed on Thursday with AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam unapposed for a third four-year term at the helm of a new-look AFC Executive Committee.

The AFC ExCo features 10 new faces after the elections for several positions, including that of the FIFA Vice President and FIFA Executive Committee.

AFC Executive Committee 2011-2015

AFC President
Mohamed Bin Hammam (Qatar)

FIFA Vice President
HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein (Jordan)

FIFA Executive Committee Members
Vernon Manilal Fernando (Sri Lanka)
Worawi Makudi (Thailand)

AFC Vice Presidents
Yusof Al Serkal (UAE)
Zhang Jilong (China)
Ganesh Thapa (Nepal)
HRH Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmed Shah (Malaysia)

AFC Female Member (South & Central)
Mahfuza Akhter (Bangladesh)

AFC EXCO Members
H.E. Shk. Ali Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa (Bahrain)
Dr Hafez I. Al Medlej (Saudi Arabia)
Sayyid Khalid Hamed Al Busaidi (Oman)
Praful Patel (India)
Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat (Pakistan)
Ali Azim (Maldives)
Lee Boo Aun Winston (Singapore)
Tran Quoc Tuan (Vietnam)
Zaw Zaw (Myanmar)
Ganbold Buyannemekh (Mongolia)
Kohzo Tashima (Japan)
Richard K. Lai (Guam)


Thursday, 6 January 2011

Canberra/Asia Business Football group to form?

The FFA might not want a team in the A-League from Canberra but Canberra will host up to seven games in the 2015 Asia Cup.


Now show us how the FFA, Capital Football, ACT Government has any plan to use this huge and significant tournament to build the game either through a professional football team, a youth team and a legacy for the kids who play the game in Canberra.

After all when the Asia Cup departs will Canberra kids have a pathway or improved facilities for football.

If not? What is the point of this tournament coming to Canberra and what the hell are the FFA and to a much lesser extent Capital Football up to.

We stuffed any benefits from hosting the 2000 Olympics in Canberra, at least I can't see any for football in Canberra, let's hope we are on the front foot with this one and hear our local politicians and Capital Football Board telling the football and sporting community the benefits and direct legacy for football.

Maybe we should have an Canberra/Asian Business/Football group working with the ACT Government with a representative from Capital Football, Heather Reid. Terry Snow, Danny Moulis, Coffeys, IT and Defence Specialists, ANU, and large building firms are others who spring to mind given their Canberra and Asia interests.

There will be many many opportunities for Canberra to link with Asia through football over the next thirty years and what other business or sport can do this?

We need our own think tank/business lobby group, particularly those like Coffeys, various building firms, even Transact who have strategic interests in growing into Asia.

Or will we stuff this free gift as well?

AFL got thirty million for 3 games a year, (good for them) surely 7 Asia Cup games should provide local football a benefit.

Let's hear from Capital Football or anyone able to move the game forward.


Aussie Football: Best display ever coming up.

While the Aussies played a 0-0 draw with UAE last night as they start their Asian Cup 2011 bid on the weekend it was announced by AFC President and Qatari Bin Hamman that Australia has won the rights to host the 2015 Asia Cup.

Aussie media are reporting we were the only bidder!

I'm telling you who cares.

This will be the best display of football, and the best football tournament we've had here with the possible exception of the 2000 Olympics.

And a great opportunity to further grow the game.

No matter what the crowds in the A-League are currently, the continued lack of media coverage on FTA, football is here to stay and the continued long-term raising of the profile through our acceptance into Asia means, finally, we're never going away and we'll always have new opportunities to push the game further and become more successful on and off the field.

Well done Ben Buckley.

NRL and AFL maybe the big boys in domestic sport but this announcement shows that those two codes will have a continued threat not just from each other but from the giant who has half an eye open.

It may take thirty years but football will become an increasingly popular sport in Australia. And the other two codes will have to spend more and more just to counter the ever increasing profile of football.

I'm not suggesting the other two codes will be diminished in anyway, more that football will get more coverage and more spectators.

A great boost for Aussie football.


Huge boost for Aussie Football.....AFL couldn't stop progress this time!

Australia has been granted the rights to host the 2015 Asian Cup.

Another great benefit of being in Asia and gives us a glimmer of hope should we fail to qualify for 2014 World Cup. The game never stops now does it?

But can we deliver quality pitches....we can't consistently for the A-League. Let's hope we can for 2015 Asia Cup. Imagine seeing some of Asia's finest running out at Etihad Stadium! Probably after a concert or two! Yuk!

All games will be played in January and it will be great to see the fans from other Asian nations flocking to games. Could be the best Asian Cup ever with many teams increasing their competitiveness in four years time.

And great for football.

Rugby League, and AFL can only offer so much; their regular season and that's about it. Football the smaller code in terms of media and corporate coverage has a few things to boost it's profile other than the domestic league.

The Asian Cup is another of those.


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Asian Cup: Here's how Australia can win despite the looming long dark night

As the dark cloud starts to shroud our National Team, it's sad to see us bloggers and media types desperate for chinks of sunshine. And it will remain ever so for years to come it seems!

Tommy Oar, Matthew Leckie, Dario Vidosic, Alex Brosque, Matthew Spiranovic, and now Matt McKay and Robbie Kruse.

Add in Nicky Carle, Simon Colosimo, Daniel Mullen - yes the list of next Socceroo world beater goes on and on.

In truth we ain't got a Viduka or Kewell - never mind a Cahill or Neill at his best. And it's time we all started to assess what that means for our National team, our game of football over the next 6 years or so.

Australia haven't won much this summer and winning the Asia Cup will be much harder than winning the Ashes!

But Australia can win the Asia Cup in many ways, despite the looming cloud; and here's a few:

1. If as expected we get to host the 2015 Asia Cup - Football and Australia will have a huge win. The ability for the country to connect on many many levels with India, China, Japan, Indonesia etc is mouth-watering for this Economics and Football teacher! Any Aussie team on home soil should be able to compete...surely!

2. Culturally we can continue to learn respect and build strong relationships with our Asia competitors. Something sadly amiss in 2007. But long-term the images of Aussies taking on India, for example, are worth gold across the cultures. And in the coming decades India will improve bringing passion and fans to many international venues.

Maybe lack of quality in our emerging Socceroos will lead to greater respect of others.

The Aussie cricket team have taken an aggressive attitude to teams from the sub-continent for many years - can football move the relationships forward?

3.And on the field. We may not win the tournament but seeing a squad evolve that can set us up for World Cup qualification is vital. More now than ever. Can Holger Osiek emerge with a squad and a plan for Brazil 2014?

After four games in charge I've seen nothing to give me hope. If you count long balls to Josh and Timmy as our best hope - bring back Pim!

For Holger the time is now. Messiah or muppet?

4. And to win the competition itself. Fools Gold?

Possibly. Are we really so good we could win, and if we did where would that leave our older stars in the years to come? Would we really bring in the newbies we so badly need?

I'll take a win, of course. But I suspect the gap between our fading golden generation and the next group of star players - well are the next group of star players actually born yet?

Despite legendary status given to the non-playing Tommy Oar already this blogger is not convinced he is Lionel Messi, maybe Ahmed Elrich - and that's the problem. If Tommy is our next best - what chance 2014 for Australia?

Who can push the cloud up?


Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Nearpost Poddie Asian Cup preview

We love Asia:

Paddy, Aaron and Steph (welcome Steph) are on the pitch and up for the Asian Cup: Can the Aussies win? Are you happy with the squad and of course all the A-League news.

How many football poddies only cover Aussie football?

We are clearly Australia's number one football poddie, apart from all the others, We discuss all the news from Australian football. What more could you wish for from the Australian media?

or play right from your computer....


Asia Cup: Aussie depth exposed just like Union and Cricket teams

Richard Garcia is out, injured and in comes the non-playing Tommy Oar.

We all have high hopes for Tommy but if he's not playing for his club side FC Utrecht and in view of all Holger has said about Tommy... he can't cross, or play the right ball yet according to his Dutch Coaches....should Tommy really be picked?

It shows the depth of Aussie football and the long dark road ahead.

We cannot win the Asian Cup. We couldn't when Lucas, Timmy and Harry were four years younger, we've got little chance this year...or so you'd think.

But of course we're on a journey and bringing in Tommy Oar, Robbie Kruse, Matt Spiranovic, these guys are they our future?

Will they be the ones to lead us to Brazil in 2014?

I'm not convinced.

Robbie Kruse, Kerim Bulit, Matthew Leckie, Dario Vidosic, Adam Sarota..the point is there is no standout young kid...not yet.

and there's the real problem. It's not if Oar should or should not be in, but is he and Kruse really going to be the chosen ones, long-term?

Not sure they are, are you?

And that is the real problem isn't it?