Sunday, June 13, 2010

Guus Hiddink vs Pim Verbeek: Who is the better leader?

As Australia is on the brink of her first World Cup Finals match against Germany, the weight of expectation has not been higher. Indeed, win or lose; jubilation or desperation; the thrill of the World Cup it palatable. As with any monumental occasion, often you cannot control the outcome, all you can do is prepare as best you can and hope you have the right man behind the reins. So this brings us to the question: Guus versus 'Pim', who is the better man?

Expressing a strong dislike and disrespect for the A-League- which may or may not be unfounded, is but one of Verbeek's notable 'virtues'. Yet one of his more widespread trademarks is his 'boring' style of football. Now, you may be excused for thinking that the A-League is not the greatest football league in the world. That's a fair enough comment- yet such a great detail of gratitude is owed to Frank Lowy for fervently attempting to put football on the Australian radar.
Now there is a temptation to adopt a job interview approach and compare and contrast the two résumés. But in the interest of giving Pim a chance, we will go to other means. As a side note, comparing Guus and Pim in terms of their 'transcripts' is like comparing Shaquille O'neal and Muggsy Bogues- or for those non-NBA civilians out there, think about the A-League in comparison to the English Premier League. Hold On! I'm starting to side with Verbeek already, let's just move along shall we? Good idea.

However, in my mind, there is no excuse for boring football! Pim's response points to Australia's qualification into the 2010 World Cup as he pleads with us to judge him by his results. Now Pim, listen up, I am 100% behind Australia progressing far- and to demonstrate by unwavering loyalty to the Socceroos, I am wearing my green and gold scarf despite my toasty inside surrounds necessitating no such heating garment- but tell me this: Is this great game dictated by who wins and losses? If we were to side with you I guess we would have to give Italy a hearty pat on the back for 'getting the results' against Australia in the last World Cup! I still can't sleep at night without seeing Totti sucking his thumb as my heart was literally breaking, tears running down my face faster than an bolt- Lightning, Hussein or otherwise.

This great game is not just about results! It is about passion, it is about drama, it's about waking up at a ridiculous morning hour to cheer on a team that it every bit aware of its underdog status. Now it may seem like I'm getting carried away here, but Pim, here me when I say: "it will all be forgiven; just show me the sexy football! Go Australia!!"

I have decided I'm no longer holding back. Guus... you are the man. You were the man. You are our man. Four years ago, I looked to you for hope. You looked back. We had a moment there. You delivered the goods, but more still, you packages them so well. You brought the sexy football back to Australia. I only now hope that our beloved Socceroos have not forgotten that little voice that says 'passion' and'heart' that Verbeek may have quashed or smothered with the command to 'deliver results'. Perhaps I'm not being entirely fair to Pim. But I have one more request.

Pim. Please. We want emotion. We want drama. Show us that you care! No-one is grading you on the quality of your poker face. This is something that we endeared about Guus so much. He was not afraid to show us his true colours. The measure of a coach... Let me rephrase that: the measure of a man is not by his ability to disallow the flailing emotions (so rampant in a highly charged football pinnacle) to voice themselves in his demeanour.

Let me borrow Tom Cruise for a moment.. We want the truth! And in case you are part Jack Nicholson, we CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH! If you are hurting, show us you are hurting! If you are anxious, know that we are too. If we score and win, then GET UP OFF YOUR SEAT and DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO! Your time is now. Our time has come. Show us the sexy football and we will all be shouting your praises from our houses, taverns, street-corners or wherever else we will be congregating tomorrow morning to bring our boys to glory.

Go Australia! Game on!

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