These days I see a lot of people talking about Team Melli going to the NEXT LEVEL
This NEXT LEVEL
means advancing our standard higher than Asia.
It means beating Bahrain, North Korea or Jordan is not good enough anymore.
We want to TRASH
these teams and take the BIG STEP.
Whats the big step?
Playing on the same level as Mexico and Portugal in the World Cup and going to the next round!
This expectation expressed by the majority of iranians these days is why, in recent months, regardless of the score-line, Team Melli and Branko Ivankovic have been surrounded by negativity.
We are NOT playing on the same level as Mexico and Portugal.
We are playing the traditional iranian football.
The only difference is that, in recent years, under Branko, this traditional iranian football has CONSISTENTLY
brought us RESULTS.
We no longer trash South Korea 6-2 today, just to be brought back down to earth by Palestine a week later.
We have WON
when it mattered.
Other than that, we play the same old SLOW
style of iranian football.
And, I can GUARANTEE
you one thing:
This slow style of iranian football has been there ever since I started following Team Melli and it will remain with us for the years to come.
Why you ask?
Because our footballers lack PACE
By pace, I don't mean running fast from one end of the field to another.
This is not track and field, this is football.
By pace I mean the knowledge of playing ONE-TOUCH
This knowledge can be gained through two steps.
Football schools and youth programms
Its in these places where a player is SHAPED.
If you see Diesler being a true team player, if you are delighted by Totti's passing game or if you just love how Robben stars for Chelsea, its because these players were groomed the RIGHT WAY.
You can not expect our players to compete with these, or play on the same level as them.
Do we have football schools in Iran comparable to those in Germany, Holland, Italy or Portugal?
If not, then how do we even dare asking our players to play on the same level as starts of world football?
Getting used to playing with the big boys
And keep in mind: this step 2, on its own, is useless.
This second step can be taken ONLY
when you have completed the first one.
But, what do I mean by getting used to playing with the big boys
I mean taking our football further than the asian level, ON THE PITCH.
This requires abandoning friendlies against Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and South Korea and taking on Austria, Belgium, France, England, Brazil and Argentina.
You can adapt to the MODERN PACE OF FOOTBALL
only if you practice the game against opponents who actually use it!
Japan did this!
Again, keep in mind that Japan did this while having players groomed in top youth schools with perefect conditions.
Right before World Cup 2002, they started playing teams from FIFA's top 10 list.
They suffered heavy defeats!
I still remember two 5-0 trashings against France and Czech Republic!
All this, just a few months before a World Cup they were about to host!
What did they do?
Did they fire their coach?
Did they start throwing dirt at players?
They CONTINUED to play and lose, but with narrower margins, to world power-houses.
In 2002, they easily advanced to the 2nd round of World Cup and in the 2005 Confederations Cup they held a FULL STRENGTH Brazil side to a 2-2 draw!
Now, do you think in Iran such a thing is possible?
We iranians simply DO NOT know how to lose and take lessons from defeats!
Its enough to look at many threads following Iran's meaningless 4-0 win against Taiwan to see what I mean.
People are asking for the removal of the coach after a 4-0 win!
Can you even imagine what would have happen if Iran would lose to Czech Republic 5-0 in a test-game?
Honestly, do you think anyone will analyze anything for even ONE SECOND?
Do you think Ivankovic or any other coach will stay in charge after such a result?
These are the ILLNESSES of our society:
- We refuse to work hard and always want the easy way out.
- We keep ignoring problems in the root because fixing them requires working hard and we hate that.
- We keep trying to find fast solutions for the short-comings on the surface because its easier and we love this.
- We don't know how to learn the lessons in defeats.
Basically, our current football team is a Peykan
In Germany this summer, we will participate in a footballing F1 race.
If you think our Peykan
can finish ahead of Michael Schummacher's Ferrari, then be my guest