The Socceroos have seemingly done the impossible. After nearly three years, Australia finally qualified for the World Cup.
While the celebrations have been around qualification for a fifth straight World Cup have been euphoric, there is no escaping the fact It has been a very turbulent time for football in this country. While it will be a long wait until November, there is plenty of work to do in the meantime.
These are the 5 things Football Australia needs to do from now until November 23rd.
1. Make a swift call on the coach
This was probably the biggest talking point heading into these two matches. Graham Arnold is possibly the most divisive coach in Socceroos history. His backers arguing the tough nature of the qualification campaign and the slightly poor quality of the squad would make this job hard for any coach in the world.
Whereas his doubter points out the lack of tactical nous in the below-par performances.
Credit has to be given to Arnold, as he managed to get through this seemingly impossible playoff route, beating the UAE and then Peru to defy all odds and send Australia to the World Cup.
Some might argue that given the way Ange Postecoglou was treated post his qualification campaign in 2018, Arnold doesn’t deserve better treatment than the current Celtic boss.
Whatever the call is, Football Australia needs to make it swiftly, and with full authority. Should they back Arnold in, then announce it with passion and certainty. Should they think that he isn’t the man for the job, get a replacement lined up and get them through the door asap.
2. Heavy promotion
The Socceroos have made the World Cup, so let’s make sure everyone in Australia knows about it.
Advertisements, billboards, commercials, whatever it takes, Australia is going to Qatar and everyone has to know.
This is one of the few ways that growth for football in this country will be seen. The more people know about Australia’s campaign in Qatar, the more the game grows, and the better football will be in the future.
This is the last World Cup where there was jeopardy in qualification as from 2026 and beyond, there will be a change in the qualification structure, meaning the Socceroos should qualify in a canter every single time.
Let everyone know how big of an accomplishment this is, and how much the boys need this nation’s unwavering support. Australia has some of the most passionate fans in the world, Football Australia needs to get the casual fans on board and turn them into hardcore lovers of the sport both on the national stage and in their own backyard.
They can do this via heavy promotion of the feat this group has been able to accomplish.
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3. Invest in the A-League
It starts from the bottom. Nearly every good national team has a very domestic league, or at the very least, a domestic league that has extremely passionate fans that will do anything to see their club succeed.
There is an overall consensus that the A-League needs a lot of work, so to fix this, Football Australia needs to invest time, money, and energy in this league, get people invested in the local football and then it will translate to the national team.
The more apathy that people feel towards football in this country, the more apathy that they will feel toward the national team because they feel so unreliable.
By default, there will be more eyes on Football in the country due to the nation qualifying for the World Cup, so Football Australia needs to do everything in its power to move these eyes to the local leagues and get people invested in local football again.
4. Develop a clear philosophy
The Spanish have Tiki-Taka, the Germans have Heavy Metal, the Italians have Catenaccio, the Brazilians have Freestyle, what is Australia’s style?
Graham Arnold has spoken heavily about the ‘Aussie DNA’, which, despite being one of the key factors in the qualification for Qatar, is something that not a lot of people know exactly what it is. Football Australia needs to develop a clearly defined philosophy that will lead us in good stead for November.
Make it a philosophy that can be translated down to grassroots football, aiming to have the players of the future developing in a system that is used at the top level. This is the perfect time to develop and implement it.
The hype around football is high and the willingness to buy into a philosophy at all levels will be at its peak.
5. Make these players idols.
Make these players idols.
They may not be the golden generation, but these are some of the most exciting players that Australia has had in a long time.
Martin Boyle, A dazzling Scotsman whose energy and passion have made him a fan favourite already. Awer Mabil, an elegant winger with one of the best backstories in sport. Ajdin Hrustic, one of the most technically gifted players to ever wear the Green and Gold, Playing at the highest level of German football and the current Europa League winner, he is the person all aspiring attacking midfielders in this country should be looking to. Jackson Irvine, the most selfless man on the team, does the job no one else wants to do and is the best in the country at it.
These players are inspirations to many people, now it’s down to those with the power to promote these talented footballers and make them inspirations to the nation.
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