It’s not just the Olyroos though; the Seniors – the Socceroos, are also coming under heavy criticism, both from the supporters and the press.
The Socceroo’s new coach appointment is vital
One school of thought in terms of the senior team, as voiced by ex-Socceroo Harry Kewell, is the head coach void. He believes the FFA should appoint Graham Arnold as the successor to former head coach Ange Postecoglou.
One of the reasons that Kewell is in favour of Arnold as the new coach, is that he believes that the senior Australian soccer team need a home-grown man to take the helm. He and many others too think that this is the best way of promoting Australia’s chances in the next FIFA World Cup being staged in Russia later this year.
Although the FFA is still reportedly looking towards a foreign manager as the new Socceroo’s head coach, Kewell is adamant that an Aussie, and Arnold in particular, will be the best way forward.
According to Kewell, his candidate Arnold is dominating the A-League, and since taking over at Sydney, no one can keep pace with him. Ho not only has the best squad of payers, but his strategy is superior to that of any of his peers.
The development of goal scoring technique has to improve
The other school of thought, away from the importance of the appointment of a new manager, is that Australia needs to re-evaluate the way it develops its young strikers – something that John Kosmina, the ex-Socceroo player and head coach at Brisbane, is passionate about.
Kosmina emphasizes his belief by pointing out that most of the top strikers in the A-League – players like Keogh. McCormack, Mierzejewski and Ninkovic, all learned their trade abroad. He went on to say that scoring goals is an art form, but it’s something that is not taught well enough here in Australia.
The former Socceroo star maintains that Australia’s budding forwards are just not concentrating enough of their time in developing their striker skills. He blames this for the recent poor showing when the Olyroos, despite having enough possession and creating plenty of goalscoring chances, simply failed to put the ball in the back of the net.
Possession alone is not enough
In their last game, the Under-23s clocked up 74% of the play. They had good approach play, but the all-important timing of the last run, or the right choice of finish in any given situation, just wasn’t there. There was a lack of spatial awareness and where the opposing goalkeeper was positioning himself.
Mark Bosnich, Kosmina’s fellow former Socceroo, points to Dwight Yorke as an example of what young Aussie strikers should be doing. Yorke, his ex-Premier League teammate, used to practice and practice putting the ball in the back of the net, until he no longer had to look to see what he was doing. It just came naturally and automatically. It’s the way that top world strikers like England and Tottenham Hotspurs’ Harry Kane, recently talked about by ex England star Tony Cottee, get to the top of their trade.
Practice, practice, practice
Sports-science is also to blame says Kosmina. The current philosophy is to ensure that players don’t over-train. That’s all well and good, but if players don’t develop goal scoring as a natural ability through repetition in training, the situation is not going to improve – the ex Socceroo is adamant about this.
It may already be too late for the 2018 World Cup campaign, but it’s not too late to change things looking forward to 2022. It’s imperative and the time to start is now.