Thursday, March 11, 2010

Will he stay or will he go?

The prevailing wisdom in Australia is that Pim Verbeek has no plans to hang around with the Socceroos once the World Cup is done. But, despite the speculation, the man himself refuses to confirm either way what he intends to do.

Leaving after South Africa would make sense but so, too, would continuing on for another seven months to take the nation to the Asian Cup finals. After all, Verbeek did qualify the country for the finals - just as he did for the World Cup - and it would bring a certain amount of symmetry to his reign. The Dutchman took over, after all, from Graham Arnold after the Socceroos' disappointing debut showing at the tournament in 2007.

The Australians have been becoming increasingly vocal about their concerns over the lack of a new generation of players coming through to replace the likes of Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill and the rest, few of whom are expected to still be playing internationally by the time the next World Cup comes round in 2014 in Brazil.

So why not allow - or encourage - Verbeek to remain in charge until January 2011 as the Australians look to banish the memories of what was an inauspicious start to their life in Asia. Few who encountered the Australian contingent during the Asian Cup had anything positive to say about the attitude either of the team or many within the media and this would be the perfect opportunity to rebuild some bridges.

The Asian Cup could then be the swan song for the team and Verbeek...and that tale could end with victory in the final in Doha on January 27. Let's face it, the Asian Cup is a title the Aussies could win; the World Cup isn't and what would be better for all concerned than going out on that kind of high.

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