Monday, November 20, 2006

Youth Crisis. Ange vs Fozzie

In an amazing year for Australian football, we have had a couple of very down moments recently.

It is no secret there are big problems with Youth development in our game. The biggest being that there really isn't any to speak of.

There's many theories, and many solutions. But as of today none are being announced or put into place. The necessity for a decent youth program, incorporating a national youth league of some sort, is fundamental to us mounting successful world cup campaigns in 2014 and 2018. And successful world cup campaigns, Asian cup campaigns, and Asian Champions League campaigns is what we need more than anything else.

FFA are saying that they are aware of the issues, and it is surely top of incoming CEO Ben Buckley's list when he starts his tenure in the job. But WHAT are they doing? We have now failed in Asia to qualify for the U17 and U20 World Cups. Is it harder in Asia? Of course. Should we have the sturctures in place to succeed? Of course. Do we have these structures? No.

Youth coach Ange Postecoglu took to India a squad that had 5 players getting semi regular first team football. Most of his squad aren't even signed with a club. Is this Ange's fault? No. Should Ange have done better? Undoubtedly. We failed partially because of the lack of experience of our young players, but also because of Ange's inability to get any sense of dominance of opposition we should have beaten.

Unfortunately, in the recent interview with SBS, Craig Foster, who seems to be trying to make himself a new Johnny Warren, went head to head with Ange over the issues, saying he should resign. Sadly, i agree with Fozzie's sentiments, if not his mechanism for getting the point across.

Ben Buckley comes from AFL, which through it's Auskick programs, has a very good youth development structure and dominates the sporting landscape through the ages 14 - 24. All his nouce will be required in creating a similar system for football.

Sooner rather than later.

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