Under prepared, according to Australian and Everton start Tim Cahill. At a press conference where grim faces were a distant memory and big, toothy smiles were the order of the day, Cahill had this to say:
"We can't help going into games with them knowing everything about us and us not having the answers at the start. We have acclimatised and adjusted, and now we are starting to find our feet."
Errr.. yes you can help it, mate.
Its called video footage - of matches that your opponents have played over the last year, and a bit. Correct me if I am wrong, but I was of the distinct view that it was the coaching team's role to ensure that the players knew everything and anything about their opponents before the first whistle.
I have no doubt that Tim Cahill did not intend any harm to Graham Arnold through this comment. However, in international sport where the real news is said off the record, one cannot help but read more into his comments.
Cahill clearly states, in the quote above, that the Australian do not know much about their opponents before kick-off. This fact beggars the question, what does Graham Arnold do if he doesn't even watch footage of previous games played by Australia's Asian Cup opponents?
"Under preparation" was the most common reason offered for Australia's shoddy performances in the first two games of this edition of the Asian Cup. By "under preparation" the pundits were referring to a lack of training time where the team could gel as a unit, not a sub-standard performance from the coaching team that led to the players not knowing what to expect from their opponents before they took the field.
A friend recently opined that the reason Australia were performing so poorly under Arnold was because they don't respect him, because he didn't have the coaching credentials to support him in his position. Cahill's comments make it abundantly clear why Arnold does not have the said credentials - he does not seem to have a clue about how to prepare a team for a tournament that is second only to the FIFA World Cup in the Asian/Oceania region.
Without stating the bleeding obvious, relying on a product of lesser quality has only got Australia in unnecessary strife. With all the millions that Australian football is earning from international tournaments, the appointment of an international coach with the highest credentials is well and truly overdue.
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