We are fans of Australian coach Pim Verbeek and applaud his achievements as Socceroo’s coach, which with an ageing side we believe surpass his predecessor. We love his forthright manner, even if it does ruffle a few feathers. Here is a man comfortable in his abilities as a coach who will be up front with people and not talk in clichés. He is a breath of fresh air in Australian sport.
However as the January transfer window has now opened should he take the opportunity to be more open with some of the players in the Hyundai A League and make them aware as to what their realistic chances are of winning a seat on the plane to South Africa later this year?
It would appear that like Guus Hiddink before him Verbeek already knows his first 15 players and it will be in those 15 that most of his faith will be placed during the World Cup. The only problem that he has is that some of them were at their peak under Guus and four years on are on the wane.
Several A League clubs face the prospect of losing key players at the end of the month as these players seek football up until May to enhance their chances of being selected.
Some of the players have said on “Not The Footy Show” that they have to give themselves every chance of being selected for South Africa, which is understandable. However very few members of the Socceroos squad that played in Kuwait realistically stand a chance of being selected if all the overseas-based players are fit. Therefore, should Verbeek not sit down and talk to these players and advise them that they may only have a ten per cent chance, or a fifty percent chance of being selected. That way the A League keeps some integrity, and the players concerned do not have to disrupt their playing careers for something that is simply not going to happen.
Some of these hopeful players could in fact find themselves leaving their clubs at a crucial part of the season, heading overseas and in fact spending time in the reserves at their new clubs. Or some could find themselves living a nightmare in places like China where payments can be slow and this could end up with them not being in the right mental state should they be called into camp.
There are players in Europe who are not getting game time, Spiranovic, Carle, and Rukavysta to name a few, and all are looking to try and get football between now and the end of the European season, to enhance their chances. They are already in a lot of cases higher up the pecking order in terms of the level of football they are playing, so what chance therefore do some of our current A League players have of being guaranteed top level football from February to May to force their way into the Socceroo’s squad?
Mr. Verbeek could help the league, the players and we believe his cause by being up front with these players, if he has not been already, and with him you cannot discount the fact that he may well have been.