Samantha Kerr | Riley McGree | Tim Cahill | Milos Degenek | Kearyn Baccus
On FIFA plots that are not, Cahill's farewell, and Degenek's star on the rise05 September 2018 | FT Editor
Samantha Kerr is not shortlisted in the final three of FIFA's 'The Best' awards and we heard some on national radio blame FIFA and suggest it is the same people who voted for the 2022 World Cup. Seriously.
Even the great Ray Gatt was moved to write a comment piece saying it was all an anti-Australian plot on the part of FIFA and that it would be different if Kerr was European or South American, or had a one word name such as 'Sammy'. Gatt says it "defies logic" that she is not included in the top three and then proceeds to detail her considerable achievements over the past year.
Another report here, this time via Michael Lynch, which states that Kerr was "snubbed by the powerbrokers of the world game." At least he notes the other very good players who also missed out on the shortlist.
This website has runs on the board - more than anyone in Australia - in being prepared to call out FIFA or FFA, but let's get a few facts straight, shall we?
'The Best' awards shortlist is not determined by FIFA. It's determined by:
- the captains of all national teams deciding on 25% of the results
- the head coaches of all national teams deciding on 25% of the results
- a public fan ballot on the FIFA website deciding on 25% of the results, and
- a group of around 200 members of the international media deciding on 25% of the results.
Assuming that Kerr received a fair swathe of votes via the captains and coaches, and that Australians got online and voted - as we urged people to do on several occasions - that might put the determining segment down to the media who are not known, but presumably are drawn from almost every FIFA member country.
By the way, despite having a less than memorable World Cup, Lionel Messi had a pretty good year too last season (scoring 34 La Liga goals, 48 in total) but he also wasn't named in the three-person shortlist.
Alen Stajcic also missed out on making the shortlist for the women's coach of the year.
Riley McGree's scorpion kick
For those who are still convinced Kerr's omission is an anti-Australian conspiracy by all those captains, coaches, fans and media, is it alright to mention that Riley McGree's scorpion kick goal has been nominated in the top 10 for consideration for the Puskas award? The goal was scored in the semi-final between Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City (his new team).
The great Peter Schmeichel nominated it as his favourite of the ten contenders, telling FIFA TV: "If I was voting, I wouldn't vote them [Ronaldo or Bale].I really love Riley McGree's goal. That is extraordinary that."
Certainly, McGree's junior coach, Chris Hodgson from Gawler Eagles, is pretty happy about it and says if McGree wins the Puskas, a statue of McGree should be built at the Gawler Eagles home ground.
A video of all of the Puskas nominated goals are featured on our home page.
Tim Cahill says the 'next gen' of Socceroos ($) will be "fine" and that he has been mentoring younger players for the past four years. Speaking at the announcement of his farewell game v Lebanon in Sydney on 20 November (previously reported on), Cahill said it was a matter of "being ready" and that scoring goals in domestic games is good preparation for scoring internationally.
The same message is given with more of an edge in this report by the inclusion of words such as Cahill 'warning' that club form is key to international success. Next year's Asian Cup will be the first time in 14 years that Australia will head into a major tournament without Cahill.
Not everyone is happy about Cahill's farewell match. While acknowledging his pre-eminent place as a Socceroo, Craig Moore took to Twitter to voice his disapproval on the grounds that the game and its lead-up will now be a "circus" and it's a "lost opportunity" to prepare players for the Asian Cup in January.
Cahill also said that his forthcoming stint with Indian Super League side, Jamshedpur, will "probably be my last hurrah".
He says that he made the decision to move to India to help grow the game there and encourage children to play football.
Beyond India, Cahill says he has already done some coaching certificates but will not think about a coaching career until he is 40 years of age .... in 15 months time.
Milos Degenek talks of his, and his parents', delight at him helping Red Star Belgrade from the brink of a defeat against Salzburg in a European Champions League play-off, which means Red Star will be in the top club competition for the first time in 26 years. Down 2-0 with 30 minutes to go, Degenek provided two crucial assists to set-up a 2-2 draw and a passage to the next stage against Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli. Red Star is Degenek's childhood club.
Of course, only two months ago, Degenek was one of the many disappointed Socceroos who sat on the bench at the Russian World Cup but got no game time. Degenek says Ange Postecoglou helped smoothe the way of his transfer from Yokohama Marinos to Red Star Belgrade.
Kearyn Baccus says he is enjoying a new lease of life under new Western Sydney Wanderers coach, Markus Babbel. He says he intends working hard and hopes that, if good enough, he might be considered for the Socceroos.
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samantha kerr, tim cahill, milos degenek, kearyn baccus, fifa the best awards, red star belgrade, socceroos