Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Australian media need to change focus
In those days, in the late 90s and early 2000s, the Socceroos were Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka. If neither of those two pulled on the green and gold, attention dropped and any attention the Socceroos did receive dropped even further.
Then came along November 16 2005 and a new bunch of heroes. Suddenly the names people ignored for so long were now household names. Neill, Bresciano, Cahill. At 27, 25 and 25 respectively, they represented the “new” face of Australian Football. The media couldn’t get enough of them, even moreso after their heroics in Germany a year later.
Their feats at club level were, and still are, reported with pride and admiration and deservedly so.
Why then, after generation “next” stood out so much in South Africa and with seemingly every news outlet claiming an upcoming period of transition for the national team, are the deeds of our future national team stars being ignored?
While every movement of Harry Kewell is reported, the feats of Brett Holman, our best performer in South Africa, go unnoticed. Who knew that he actually scored for his club, AZ Alkmaar, in their Europa League Play-Off last week?
While every goal of Tim Cahill is reported, no mention is made of Josh Kennedy leading the Golden Boot in Japan, or of rising star Matthew Spiranovic getting on the scoresheet for Urawa.
Tommy Oar, the name on everyone lips before South Africa, now doesn’t even rate a mention despite game time for FC Utrecht who sit third in the Eredivisie.
Even our most consistent performer of the last four years and one of the “senior” Socceroos, Luke Wilkshire, can’t get a mention for his feats at club level. I’d wager that not many could actually name the team or the league he plays in.
And, regrettably, it’s not just the ‘mainstream’ media who are at fault. Take in an episode or two of The World Game or Fox Sports FC and see if any mention is made of the “other” Socceroos.
Whilst Australia has come forward in leaps and bounds in terms of our coverage of Football, we still find ourselves in the position where the focus is on only two or three players.
It’s time for the Australian media, and that includes most of the Football media, to expand their horizons and give due recognition to the “other” Socceroos, otherwise we’ll find ourselves in the same position where people only pay attention if the “stars” are playing.