The A-League in Australia is only now in its tenth year where it has been home to some riveting finals series, games, derbies and strong atmosphere that in turn yes, cannot be compared to leagues around the world but it is our own and we should appreciate and support it without hesitation.
Being from a strong Chilean background where the appreciation of culture and language is bred into you from day one, football is not far away or to be honest it’s a priority as in Chile you support either Colo-Colo or La Universidad de Chile both from the capital, Santiago. From South American football, to Europe’s big leagues the love of football only continues and grows. The broadcasts of games week in week out before the A-League alongside World Cups have made us, (me) understand what is the beautiful game, how to play it and when to recognise that you have witnessed ‘joga bonito.’ My family is victim to still being almost ‘stand-off’ish’ to the A-League, though we are all passionate fans of Sydney FC and WSW however, we do expect more, we expect that pass to be made, we expect that goal to go in and we expect the player to get past the other and in the end have basic control of the ball. Its not our fault but, is it human to think that and should we all be expectant of those things also?
2005 came and we were introduced to Australia’s first ever professional football league to which today has just passed its tenth season in a way that for me, progression has happened, however, my opinion is this; National Teams around the world, precisely the top 15 in the FIFA Rankings’ performances stem off the quality of football and style of play from the respected domestic leagues and also where their players play. A league of quality Australia does not yet have.
Its time to be critical
One can also argue, we are a young league and yes we are, though, in ten years, we continue to play in a ten team league where the finals series consist of the top six and the team that finished first just wins the premiers plate. The gulf in quality for example this season between, Adelaide United and sixth place Melbourne Victory was clearly evident. Australian football should today revolve around Josep Gombau and now Guillermo Amor, they know have instilled in Adelaide United ‘how’ to play football in the right way today and win.
It’s easy being overly critical but i think the time we spend sugar-coating the league is over and its time to be critical. Time does not stop turning and if we are in this same position in another ten years then we are doing something wrong and someone pulling the strings is really holding back a league that can continue to transform Australian football positively.
Tim Cahill, Socceroo Captain who today plays for Hangzhou Greentown, has openly expressed his opinion regarding Australia’s domestic league and to be fair, it was about time someone did. In previous comments from 2014 Cahill believed, “The A-League has to have a vision for every footballer.” He could not be more right.
The stereotype of the A-League regarding it’s marquee’ player system needs to be questioned. Past player for example, Western Sydney wanderers striker, Dino Kresinger, failed, Shinji Ono, succeeded, Piovaccari, failed, Alessandro Del Piero another success story, however, these successful players who brought so much into the league both football wise and commercial left after two seasons. Why?
Cahill touched on this, “Del Piero was here for how long, i think that could have been maximised more for legacy.”
Cahill deserves more than just coming to the A-League to sell a few jersey’s, he is still in the prime of his career playing professional football, scoring goals. It is complimentary the want for him to be in our game but as far as the A-league goes and the trends, it is not his time.
“People say, ‘Come back for a guest stint, but for what?’ A bit of hype? To be the billboard boy for two games? [The demand] is very humbling – it is a compliment – but it’s not fair on the game.”Cahill quotes
He is in no way denying a move to the A-League but, is it too much to ask for an Australian footballer who has played in the top football leagues in the world to come home and play in a league that is filled with what a professional league should be? With quality and a vision?
Things have to change as fast as possible within the A-League because as the Socceroos are Asian Champions, the Socceroos continue to push for Russia 2018, continue to allude us with the style of football they are playing under Ange Postecoglu, we are yet to fall back and say, the league is reminiscent of the national team, yes the league has produced young Socceroos but in all, the A-League still today, is missing its x-factor that is to describe it in one word.