Thursday, March 27, 2008

Update on Pim's Blueprint

After yesterday's World Cup Qualifier, I thought I'd do a little update, in reference to an earlier blog I wrote before the Qatar game, entitled Pim's Blueprint.

I believe 'Pim's Blueprint' is the ideal solution to the problems we have always had with our biggest players playing on the other side of the World. Essentially the idea is that a squad of locally based players is well prepared for a game, with training camps and practice matches to ensure they are up for the contest. When a big game approaches, a squad of our best European based players is called up, we aim to field our best squad (as we always should), which is generally going to be made up of players who play in European leagues. However, as is inevitable, not all the European based players are going to make the trip - and if there is little time to prepare some may not come in the best condition to take part. The advantage here is that the locally based squad is ready, if any players drop out then they are there and ready to step up.

It's a great way of approaching things, but yesterday we saw a Socceroos squad decimated by injury with Pim having very few options against China, especially up front - we blame the eventual draw on the lack of available players and in light of this we conclude that it was a good result. This is true, but what went wrong? What if things had gone even worse? We can't take any risks when it comes to World Cup qualifying and as far as I'm concerned it is not acceptable that the Socceroos are limited in striking options, when there are plenty of other Aussies out there who could have give our side an attacking edge.

I think the main problem this week, apart from the obviously unlucky run of injuries, was that many of Pim's A-leauge based squad were cast aside before the European based Socceroos were even getting on the plane. The A-leauge Socceroos, alongside a couple of European based players who left their clubs early took on Singapore on Saturday, it was a poor game, but there were a couple of standout performers - James Troisi and Nathan Burns. Both were then sent home, Pim didn't think they were in our best squad (he was probably right) and didn't think they would be needed against China. Unfortunatey he was wrong about that, both players would have been very valuable assets in Wednesday's game. Who better to replace Kewell than Troisi or Burns?

In the future, the entire A-league squad that Pim has prepared needs to be at every world cup qualifier, when problems occur they need to be ready to fill the void and give Pim a few options.

One other thing I will mention briefly is the omission of Joel Griffiths, maybe Pim and the FFA weren't happy with a couple of Joel's remarks after the Qatar clash (for the record, Joel criticised the FFA after he was injured in a Socceroos training camp just before the Qatar game, claiming he wasn't properly looked after. Somehow I suspect his criticism was warranted - why would he make up something like that?), but that's no reason to leave him home - pick your best squad. On that topic where was John Aloisi?

Also, I just have to wish good luck to Harry Kewell after he has done himself another Groin injury, hopefully it's very minor and allows him a quick recovery, the chances of him staying at Liverpool are low, but if he can just find some form he will be an asset to any club he joins.

Bye for now,
Matt

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