But, sadly, this competition hides the deeper problems facing Australia ball.
Can you believe this number has no home in this country?
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The Socceroos and the Matildas continue to unite us around the world, yet they don’t even have the necessary equipment to prepare for the world championships.
The question should be asked of Football Australia and the federal government, why?
Why are they ignoring the current champions who pull on the green and gold to represent their country, and why aren’t they laying the foundations for future generations of Socceroos and Matildas who hope to one day win the FIFA World Cup?
I personally think it’s a national shame that Football Australia receives so little funding from the federal government, it has no place to do well, the roads are broken, parents are forced to take their children overseas to chase their dreams while others pay huge sums of money for their children to attend private schools.
Compare this to other codes in Australia and you have politicians throwing money at the NRL and AFL for better facilities in the villages to be used by smaller teams while football can’t even force the government to find the money it needs to create a special service for its international teams and programs.
James Johnson is the connected and respected CEO of Soccer Australia and when he stands alongside the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, at the Matildas’ next game, it would be good to remind him of his position.
It’s funny to think that politicians and officials are sitting in their offices with green and gold scarves around their necks knowing that Australian football is getting nothing from them.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold summed up the issue in a recent interview on ABC when he said, “I’m bringing back players from Europe who are top players and have the best training facilities in Europe… They come back, we stay in a hotel, we don’t have a treatment facility”.
Matildas trailblazers focus on salary
“These guys have to take ice baths, take ice, put it in their own bathtubs in their hotel rooms to survive and get ready for the game.
“So it’s something that I believe the only way forward for Australian football is we need a football house where we can build pathways for the kids. We’re looking at the top level of the Socceroos and the Matildas but pathways are very important and unless we get the ingredients in the cake and get it right, then the game will suffer.”
The Socceroos and the Matildas are challenging some of the best nations in the world at the moment, just imagine the change if they had the right equipment at their disposal.
Instead he is forced to rent training facilities like Leichhardt Oval, and often asks the likes of Sam Kerr and Mat Ryan to stay in a hotel bathroom to recover. It’s not just Australians, it’s a disgrace to our international artists.
Respected football pundit Andy Harper recently described it in an interview with 2GB’s Wide World of Sports as “a complete disregard for duty by our public officials, our elected officials”.
Harper added, “it’s disgusting because people who are pulling public money have decided to leave football out of poverty while they’re selling other sports.”
Former Socceroo Robbie Slater added his voice to those criticizing the state of the game by declaring on WWOS radio station 2GB that “player development is very important because over the last decade we have been producing fewer players”.
Regarding Slater he revealed “parents in my area of 14, 15, 16-year-olds are willing to pack up and go overseas to look for professional football…
We are talking about a game that is said to be played by more than 250 million people in 200 countries around the world and watched by about 3.5 billion people. Clearly it is time for the federal government to come to the party to support Australian football.
Last year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Socceroos and Robbie Slater is one of the former players who says it is “shameful” that Australian football has no home.
Amazing goal by the Brazilian team
Before the floating thoughts of inviting another FIFA World Cup under the rails, let’s start to fix the most serious things in this country such as the need for building foundations, the necessary support for the next generation and the urgent repair of road programs.
There is no reason to hold an international tournament like the World Cup in 10, 20 or 30 years, when there is no guarantee that we will have the necessary professionals to challenge the world’s equipment in football.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but both the Socceroos and Matildas can be the fighters they need to lift World Cup trophies, provided they are given the necessary support from the game’s governing body and the federal government.
Let me know what you think by sending an email to the WWOS Radio show on 2GB by click this link.
Wide World of Sports Radio is heard from 6pm AEDT on 2GB 873am with Mark Levy and co-hosts Shane Flanagan (Monday), Paul Gallen (Tuesday) and Brad Fittler (Wednesday), Ken Sutcliffe (Thursday) and Mark Riddell (Friday).
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