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  • Writer's pictureChristian Marchetti

Are Australian coaches benefitting from the coronavirus pandemic?

Heading into the 2020-21 A-League season, the coronavirus pandemic has led to more Australian coaches getting opportunities in the managerial hot seat, but is it a positive?

Due to travel restrictions and financial fragility, all of our clubs are far more likely to prioritise hiring Australian coaches as opposed to foreign ones.

As it stands, there are currently nine Australian managers operating in the league out of twelve available slots.

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This high number is a good thing, as our coaches are getting more exposure and experience at the forefront of the game in Australia.

In August, Football Australia CEO James Johnson spoke of the importance of Australian coaches being exposed to more competitive environments.

"Creating world class environments for coach development is a high priority for FFA," he said.

"We are also seeing more and more Australian coaches succeed on the global stage."

More Australian coaches are getting opportunities on the global front as well.

The likes of Ange Postecoglou, Kevin Muscat and Tony Popovic are all currently in managerial roles overseas.

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Managing a side in Europe is arguably the most cutthroat and high-pressure task for any coach to take on.

Without immediate results, being sacked is a brutal but genuine outcome.

Therefore, we never really harbour any expectation of our coaches to be successful outside of Australia, hence the euphoria surrounding Postecoglou's J-League success in 2019.

But what about the expectations in Australia?

We often debate the unnecessary and constant squad turnover amongst clubs, but what about manager turnover?

Only four coaches in the A-League have kept their jobs from the 2019-20 campaign.

Australian coaches are getting more opportunities, but that might also mean more turnover of Australian coaches.

Promising coaches could have their reputations harmed early in their careers through either termination or resignation.

Eventually, they are seen to be only good enough to be on the backroom staff of an A-League club.

It is important to remember that local does not necessarily mean better.

Good foreign coaches such as Marco Kurz, Eric Mombaerts and Carl Robinson are still out there too.

We all want to see Australian coaches get opportunities, but they have to be the right ones too.


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