Thursday, 8 May 2008
With Fabio Capello having taken over as English coach to become only the second foreigner to coach the England team, the Football Association has decided to set targets for him and the national team.
This comes after a dismal performance by one Steve McLaren who saw the English not qualify for the forthcoming Euro 2008 to be held in Austria and Poland in June. This is also contrary to the success achieved by the English clubs which sees 2 of its top teams sharing spoils of the UEFA Champions League on May 21st in Moscow.
I was gratified to note the FA gave him some time to settle down with a few friendlies which have seen Capello rotate the team and also try a mix of even the captains. So far so good. But the hard work lies ahead with FA asking for no less than qualification in ALL major competitions starting with the 2010 World Cup; at least a semi-final place in 2010 World Cup or 2012 European Cup. This is also coupled with the development of a National Football Centre (NFC)to be running by 2010. This is meant to nurture youthful talent to act as a feeder programme to the national teams and English clubs. Included in the targets is to host the 2018 World Cup based on the success of the preceding targets.
In relation to this, the FA had earlier this 2007-8 season tried to lobby FIFA for imposition of a quota which allows clubs especially those in the Premiership to have at least 5 players in the first 11 of the team.
Ain't this some proper planning ? While our local leagues wallow in poverty and lack of direction, the English FA sets its agenda and asks all those involved to get it right. Can't Kenyans learn something from their former colonials masters ? Can't they even start a partnership of soughts to develop youth centres like was done with Germany in the 70s & 80s ?
Well, for Capello now the road is clear. He just needs to keep the English press at bay ( Sven Goran Ericsson can tell you what they did to his private life), get the right players and work with club managers and keep his cool as he did at Real Madrid in 2006-7 season. You'll be serving English tea and muffins come 2014 !