They say that leaders are born not created. Ange Postecoglou is undoubtedly a great leader.
Not only is he a great leader when one looks at the success he has had as a football coach at South Melbourne in the NSL, and Brisbane Roar in the Hyundai A-League, or with the massive turnaround in performance from the Socceroos which saw his team win the Asian Cup.
The reason Postecoglou is a great leader is he is confident in who he is, what he wants and what he believes in.
Since coming into the Australian job he has decided how he wants the team to play. He has stuck to his guns on this and has selected players that fit that system, or style. He is not accommodating players into his team. They player must fit the team, never the other way around. Once players know that, they know where they stand and they can adapt, or if they don’t they know the reasons why.
This week Postecoglou quite rightly said what many who love the game felt. That the FFA and the PFA should never have allowed tonight’s match against underdogs Bangladesh be used in a political battle for the upper hand.
Postecoglou made his position very clear “I don’t have the players often and when I have them that time is precious, I don’t want any minute wasted. The fact that both sides think the best time to play it out is in the middle of a Socceroos camp is not good enough.” He said on Tuesday.
That should have been allowed. He has been given a job to do and he should be allowed to do it. His employer the FFA should not have allowed any distractions. The players, one of whom, Socceroos midfielder Matt McKay, is president of the PFA, had announced that they refused to carry out a commercial appearance in Perth in a bid to force their agenda.
Wednesday morning a statement was sent out by an obviously embarrassed FFA in which Postecoglou was quoted as withdrawing his comments, deeming them “inappropriate.” He also made clear in the written quote that he should not have publicly criticised his employer.
If the FFA do not want the national coach to criticise them, then one feels they should not have allowed this to take attention away from the match, and maybe could have spoken to the PFA to reach a truce so that the best interests of the national side were put first for a week.
Some are saying that Postecoglou has really stuck his neck out and that he may have put quite a few senior noses out of joint at the FFA. Noses belonging to people who will not tolerate another act of perceived insolence.
What they fail to realise is Postecoglou is a man who is passionate about doing a good job, being the best coach he can be, and having his sides play his style of football. He is both focussed and driven, and therefore anything that takes away his or his players focus will not be tolerated. Many Fans understand and appreciate that. It is refreshing to them, and that is why he is popular with the fans around the country.
His record speaks for itself. Ask any football fan in the country and they will agree with his original comments. He should not be gagged. His honesty and passion are what has pulled the players together, as well as the fans. He is the glue at the moment. The banners have said it all “In Ange we have Faith”
What must be disappointing is the action taken by the PFA, and no doubt their President Matt McKay was part of the decision making process. McKay is a player to whom Postecoglou has been extremely loyal, as both Brisbane and Socceroos coach. One wonders if his role in the distraction at the camp in Perth may well bring down the curtain on his international career. It would not surprise many if this game against Bangladesh proves to be McKay’s last, or possibly the game against Tajikstan. If it is it will be Postecoglou sending a very clear message to the players; one to match the message he sent the FFA with his now retracted comments.
Let us hope that tonight the football is the thing that everyone remembers. It has been ten long years since the national team was in Perth, the fans deserve to see the team at its best.