Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Opening the coaching market for our own sake

As the 2014 World Cup end, people are telling us what lessons can be learned and how it can be implemented for Singapore football.

The truth is the standard we are talking are so vast apart that it make no sense at all like this Four Four Two (Singapore) article.

With no disrespect, the art of defending is never a factor in ASEAN as when was the last ever 0-0 scoreline in Suzuki Cup so sweeper keeper, playmaker or speedy counter attack does not matter.

Even the pressing game is way off the mark as it is no secret ASEAN players fitness level are terrible (42-year-old Duric continue to be among the fittest in ASEAN) and without it how to one press the opposition without tiring yourself first.

We can still learn one thing from it and that is from the resumes of the World Cup coaches.

If one looked at the 32 coaches in the World Cup, how many will have been given the chance to coach in Singapore if they were Singaporean, I will make a guess and say no more than 6.

One might asked why and it is simple to answer as many are not famous and successful ex-players and that's their only 'crime'.

So that why the level of Singapore coaching is such a disappointment as we are not seeking coaches but more like successful ex-players.

And why do that happen is no secret for clubs seek names and worse is our FAS is no better but is it for the best.

As I noted in the past, it depends on where one stand and for those with children in youth development I believed they expect the best coaches no matter if they're local let alone being ex-players.

If it's on the other foot then one expect they want the system to remain.

The question is how long such a system can go on for I noted in past the market will become saturated as our locals can only depend on the local market.

The facts are far too many local players are only focusing on coaching job as neither FAS nor the clubs have given them a vision for anything else.

FAS Program for retiring players is far too late and far too focused on coaching jobs for them unlike elsewhere like this article from UK papers - The Guardian.
Freiburg place great emphasis on academic work, so much so that they like a selection of their staff to come from a teaching background, so that they can provide educational help whenever it is needed, including on the way to matches. It is not uncommon for players to do homework on the coach. Streich says that clubs have a moral obligation to think about what happens to those who fail to make the grade.
"When I went to Aston Villa eight years ago I told them our players, under-17, 18 and 19, go to school for 34 hours a week," he says. "They said: 'No, you're a liar, it's not possible, our players go for nine hours.' I said: 'No, I'm not lying.' They said: 'It's not possible, you can't train and do 34 hours of education.' I said: 'Sure. And what do you do with the players who have for three years, from the age of 16 to 19, only had nine hours a week of school?
"They said: 'They have to try to be a professional or not. They have to decide.' I said: 'No, we can't do that in Freiburg. It's wrong. Most players in our academy can't be professionals, they will have to look for a job. The school is the most important thing, then comes football.' We give players the best chance to be a footballer but we give them two educations here. If 80% can't go on to play in the professional team, we have to look out for them. The players that play here, the majority of them go on to higher education. And we need intelligent players on the pitch anyway."
One need to prepare early and players in NFA or COEs should already be counseled on their options like the Germans in the article and the equally famous French youth development.

They all prepare players for a life without it decades early when they weren't even professional so FAS Program which wait until they are near to retirement is not a wise one.

After all if the players are not good coaches it will not matter how FAS shield them, they will still not get a market value and it hurt Singapore football instead as we are seem churning out bad coaches and players.

Indeed this is hurting the English coaches as a number of their own teams now shunned their own after seeing the numbers of flops their FA coaching staffs churned out from Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Tony Adams to Bryan Robson etc at a time in the past when many English teams will automatically hired famous ex-player as manager.

So the name should not matter and it is time to ask why outsiders with no football connections do not even get a chance as FAS refused to conduct coaching course for non footballers.

Especially as outsiders can bring ideas that footballers find alien like ex-AC Milan and Italy national coach Arrigo Sacchi, who was a shoe salesman beforehand, who brought in the pressing game to defend high up in the late 1980s and early 1990s at a time when Italian footballing teams prefer a defensive style.

He build an AC Milan side that is considered as the greatest team of that period and brought Italy to the 1994 World Cup Final losing only on penalties to Brazil.

Arsenal when they brought in Arsene Wenger, who was not a famous name then and never a footballer, to oversee not just a change in football style but also a change in attitude about fitness that was derided then yet it is now accepted as normal.

These now-famous coaches will never get a chance in Singapore and does it help us for if an ex-player can make it he will get his shot like Germany World Cup winning coach Joachim Löw even when starting out as a youth coach with a Lower division club in Switzerland.

Still considering the German never played for a big brand team in his career and is not successful enough as a player, he may still be deny his shot in Singapore.

Crazy isn't it when one think about it.

Singapore have constantly rejected protectionism in trade as it hurts the country that practices it and we have seem it terrible side effects from poor reputation to bad goods that nobody wants to buy.

So in the interest of Singapore football why is there protectionism here especially when it is hurting us.

Open up the coaching market to outsiders for new ideas that may pushed us forwards - ex-players or not.

With that, I end with Arrigo Sacchi famous quote - "I never realized that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first"