It was great news last week to hear from Football West that the Black Swan, the state’s emblem will be restored to the shirt of those representing Western Australia.
When Football West was formed in 2004 the new governing body adopted a ‘peeling ball’ logo similar to that used by Football Federation Australia. As a result, the Football West logo was then also used on State representative team shirts, which many felt showed the FFA’s unwillingness to embrace the rich history of the game before they took control. So this move is one that has met with a great deal of approval.
The one issue, and Not the Footy Show has raised this on many occasions on air and on this site, is what is the criteria to qualify a player to represent Western Australia?
At the present time it is feared by many that the wearing of the state colours has been devalued again, because the new administration has not grasped the history attached to such an honour.
It used to be that you have to be a permanent resident of Australia before you could represent Western Australia. That has not been the case in recent times, with many visiting Visa players being selected to don the Black and Gold. Some of these players having no idea as to the honour that has been bestowed upon them.
What is also sad is that in recent times the so called State Team – which is in fact is a composite top division side – has been selected by the person given the honour of coaching the side by phoning up coaches of State/NPL sides and asking them to put forward players. The reason being most of the coaches appointed in the past six years rarely watch the competition from which the players have been selected.
By all means ask the coaches for their opinion, but then make sure that you go and watch the teams and form your own opinion. This would of course mean that Football West should appoint a coach for the side a lot earlier. Football West’s Technical Director Cris Ola was only publicly announced as coach at the start of this month.
The other issue in 2015 with the NPL sides having players selected to meet a maximum points criteria on the pitch, based on age, experience and club loyalty means that the best players are no longer guaranteed to be playing in the top flight competition. Many of the better players are in fact now playing in the first division, where there is no such points system and also no restriction in terms of a salary cap.
So if this is to be truly a State Team surely the net from which players were selected should have been thrown wider? The side selected is in fact a NPL select side not a State team, and should be called as such.
It is great that the Swan has replaced the ‘peeling ball’ as the logo for those representing the state, but is it not also time the criteria for those given that honour also be restored?
The current selection process does a disservice to those who represented the state in the past and dilutes our history. So let’s continue down the path taken this year and restore pride and honour to the shirt with worthy selection.