Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Australia's new coach unveiled

 The Socceroos have a new coach. German Holger Osieck is eight years older than Pim Verbeek and as little known here as the Dutchman was before he was given the task of following Guus Hiddink after 2006. Osieck was Franz Beckenbauer's assistant for Germany in 1990 and has an unspectacular career , including four years at Canada. Frank Lowy said he spoke to Beckenbauer about Osieck's character.
Already, questions are being asked if the appointment, underwhelming for those hungering for a higher profile man, is a political masterstroke or part of a continual decline. Lowy, say some, has moved to appoint the German as part of machinations to secure Beckenbauer's vote on the 2022 World Cup.
Osieck said he was first approached at the World Cup, where he was representing FIFA,  and is being charged with invigorating the youth development of the country. There are obvious  toes being stood on, not least those of the people already charged with that mission.
The decision brings a German in alongside Han Berger, a Dutchman, a potentially interesting meeting of minds.
A notable part of the announcement was the inability of media to nail down the name. Lowy said eight candidates had been interviewed, including some big names, but it was Osieck's personal quality rather than star factor that secured him the job.
Osieck was with FFA types in Slovenia ahead of tonight's game. That they could walk around with the Socceroos' new boss comfortable in the knowledge no one capable of leaking the news would recognise him is the clearest indicator of how anonymous this man was, before today.
That's all changed. He is already being hammered on his style and his answers are already Verbeekian: "You can not put the game into attacking or defending. Your game must be based on a structure where everyone has to follow. I won't say I have the ultimate sytem. It's always a flexible one."
Guus Hiddink was a No.1 coach. Verbeek was a number two and hated the pressure of the Australian spotlight so much he took up a youth job before he even got to South Africa.
Who knows how this will pan out? Osieck will be closing in on 66 at the next World Cup, if he stays that long. Let's hope he can get back there 20 years after the current top point on his coaching CV.

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