Monday, 7 November 2011

In defence of Jan Versliejan

Okay after all the anti-Dutch experts have lined up to bag the guy....dare I suggest he did his job! And did it pretty well.

I know his teams were pretty poor in the World Cup - only finishing around 16 or so, hey that's around the same World ranking as the big Socceroos - and I know it was grim to watch at times.

But the real point of the guy's job is to produce players for the Socceroos isn't it. Not to win the young tournaments or play scintillating football - they would both be nice - but in my view if he can produce young players who not only don't have to wait six or seven years to get a debut with the big boys, like say Matt Mackay, but can kick on and inject a new level of skill and energy into our team that would be a real positive. Yes, yes we all want good football, but sometimes other teams are just better.

It's the World Game right?

Getting the young fellas good enough for the Socceroos would be brilliant. Think Germany think Youth. Harry joined up at 17. We may not have another Harry but would love to see a few more 19 or 20 year olds bursting through.

So what has Jan done?

Terry Antonis could possibly play for Australia before he's 20! Tommy Oar, Musti Amini, Matthew Leckie, Stephen Lustica, Brent McGrath are others who could burst forth ahead of time.

The Under 17s made the World Cup Final in New Zealand in 1999 losing to mighty Brazil on penalties - few if any of them ever secured a Socceroos birth. Josh Kennedy perhaps the only one to really consistently nail it.

So sure judge the guy on his performances but I'm more interested in the star quality coming through. After all it's the Terry Antonis' of the World we need in the Socceroos in years to come - not some nice memory of our junior team playing football to die for.

Ange Postecoglou couldn't do it - poor coach? Even with Kaz Patafta making the World 11. Jan Versliejan couldn't do it - poor coach? Maybe not. Maybe he's contributed to the changing face of Aussie football.

And it's the next guy, your local A-league club, Hadjuk, Brondby, Utrecht and Holger who'll reap the rewards.

Joey stars in 1999

Joeys finals squad

Jess KEDWELL-VANSTRATTEN (Northern Spirit); Matthew MILOSEVIC (South Australian Sports Institute); Mark BYRNES (Parramatta Power); Shane CANSDELL-SHERRIFF (Leeds United); Iain FYFE (SASI); Aaron GOULDING (SASI); Shane LOCKHART (NSW Institute of Sport); Adrian MADASCHI (Atalanta Bergamo); Anthony DOUMANIS (NSW Institute of Sport); Bradley GROVES (Leeds United); James JOHNSON (Queensland Academy of Sport); Jade NORTH (Australian Institute of Sport/Brisbane Strikers); Lucas PANTELIS (AIS); Wayne SRHOJ (AIS/Brisbane Strikers); Louis BRAIN (Adelaide Force); Joseph DI IORIO (Werder Bremen); Joshua KENNEDY (AIS/Carlton); Dylan MacALLISTER (Sydney Olympic); Scott McDONALD (Victorian Institute of Sport).

Brazil squad:

CACA (-75')
ADRIANO (-61')

SOUZA (+61')


1 comment:

Hamish Alcorn said...

Good call I reckon.

At any time, in my view, a coach should be judged at least partly on whether the players in his charge are improving under his stewardship (stewardship of their career, that is). After all, that is what it is to be a *coach*, and not merely a game-general.

Ange already has a good record, but I'd add Frank Farina too, as a few of these players getting around from the Roar were discovered and developed by him.

But indeed it is even more the case for a youth coach. Making them into better players and teaching them good football is so much more important than winning, and it is the criteria upon which they should be judged.