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So much has been written about Ange Postecoglou’s reported departure from the top coaching job for the Socceroos after the November qualifiers that, in some ways, I am reluctant to add to it.

On the one hand, there are those who have expressed outrage at the thought of Postecoglou (a) possibly leaving and (b) neither confirming nor denying it. And on the other hand, there are those who make the point that (a) we’re actually still alive on the road to Russia and (b) Postecoglou is his own man – take it or leave it.

Wherever any of us stand on the Ange issue, nothing any of the rest of us write or say will change someone else’s mind. So what I’m about to add to the discourse is not aimed at that but, rather, a personal observation.

I have known Ange for the best part of 20 years. I do not believe – IF the leaked report to the Herald Sun is accurate – that he is considering resigning because of media critics.

Sure, he might not like the criticism. He may be disdainful of the many and diverse opinions bandied-about. Perhaps he sits at home reading all this stuff and has a quiet chuckle. He might try to ignore it. His family probably get defensive about it on his behalf. And he may show his tetchiness with it.

But does any of this set him apart from any other coach? 

Like any coach or player – or public figure for that matter – Postecoglou knows that the critical chorus is as much a part of the job as the cheer squad. And one thing I’ve learned from working with elite sportspeople is that they have a marvellous capacity to put what happened yesterday behind them, and focus on what is next.

Tim Cahill said as much during the week with his comment that “It’s called professionalism.” Ange Postecoglou is no different.

I have no idea what Postecoglou’s plans are post-November, but I am absolutely certain that his focus on these next two World Cup qualifiers will be 100 per cent.

Further, it’s an over-reach to suggest that what Postecoglou does after November 14 is the biggest issue in Australian football that could leave the game ‘in pieces’.

For that, we need look no further than those who run the game on our behalf.

The FFA Board and the A-League clubs are supposedly heading to Court with the FFA Board likely to invoke Australian Corporations Law to keep themselves in power. If we take everything that FIFA and the AFC have communicated to FFA at face value about improving governance so that it is more representative of the game’s stakeholders, FIFA will move to install a ‘Normalisation Committee’ unless all stakeholders are happy with the composition of the new FFA Congress. However, if FFA wins the Court battle against the A-League clubs over Corporations Law, which is inconsistent with FIFA Statutes, FIFA may well move to suspend Australia altogether as a consequence.

Now that really would leave “the sport dangling on a precipice”.  How these governance issues play out will have much greater impact on the long term development of the code in Australia than the short term – and generally recurring – issues to do with the national coach. 


Categories: Opinion | Socceroos

socceroos, ange postecoglou, ffa congress, governance, tim cahill

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