Verbeek and team get down to business
Newly appointed Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek met his predecessor and Olympic team boss Graham Arnold for the first time on Friday and it was straight down to business of orchestrating Australia’s qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.
Newly appointed Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek met his predecessor and Olympic team boss Graham Arnold for the first time on Friday and it was straight down to business of orchestrating Australia-s qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa.
Verbeek and his European-based assistant coach Henk Duut arrived in Melbourne on Thursday, where they met face-to-face with the Australian media for the first time and then flew to Sydney on Friday to meet Arnold and discuss the qualification process.
After an official welcome to FFA staff, all three then left to go and watch the Adelaide and Central Coast match at Hindmarsh Stadium, before flying back to Sydney for the Sydney FC and Perth Glory game and then going back to Melbourne for the Victory and Newcastle Jets clash on Sunday.
Arnold, who was coach of the Socceroos from the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany till the Argentina friendly game in September, will be Verbeek-s right-hand man in Australia and gave the Dutchmen a thorough run down of the players in the Hyundai A-League that will potentially make up a local-based Socceroo squad.
With less than two month-s to prepare for the opening qualification match against Qatar, Verbeek has little time and with the match on February 6 falling on only a FIFA friendly date, bringing players back from overseas will be difficult.
“It's possible,” Verbeek said, when asked if he would be bringing players back from Europe for the Qatar match. “That's why I'm here; I' want to see the players in the A-League.
“I want to see if we can win the game with these players. If we can, I will select players from the A-League. If not, I will select different players.
“If you have all those (overseas-based) players, in my mind I have no doubt that we can go to the next round and then go to the World Cup. But we all know the problems with FIFA dates, that's why I'm here. I've heard good things about the A-League. But there is a difference between hearing good stories and seeing for yourself. And I want to see many games.”
Already plans are well advanced for Verbeek to get to know the local players a little better, with a series of two-day camps being organized during January.
“It's possible in January so I can introduce myself to the players,” he said. “So the players can have an idea. The sooner I know the players, the better for Australian football.”
Verbeek, while extremely confident that Australia will qualify for the World Cup, knows the first stage of qualifying will be very challenging.
“Winning the game against Qatar is the first challenge. Qualifying for the World Cup is the second challenge. First game though is most important.”
Getting a good team of support around him was one of the key things he had learnt from the likes of Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat, who he served as assistant coach while at South Korea, before getting the first team job after the 2006 World Cup finals.
“To have a good team,” when asked about their influence on him. “I have Graham and I have Henk, who knows the kind of football I like to play and the kind of players you need to be successful. I have a good staff; I also have Rob Baan with me. So that's step number one.
“Then pick the best players and be prepared 100%. So I'll know everything about my opponent and the I'll explain to the players what I want from them.”
Brought up in the Dutch coaching system, Verbeek will be no different in his coaching philosophy with the Socceroos and no doubt qualifying the team for the World Cup will be his greatest achievement.
“I'm Dutch, so we like to have the ball, control the game, attack and we like to win the ball as soon as possible back. And we like to win.
“I think every coach wants to go to the World Cup and I-m no different. That's why I'm here. If I had the feeling of any chance that we couldn't go to the World Cup, then I wouldn't sign a contract. I had other things, less risky things, but that's not why I'm here. I'm here to qualify.”