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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

 

And as for ASEAN?

Do any ASEAN countries stand a chance of qualifying for the World Cup in the next 20 years under the current qualifying procedures? Probably not, I'd say there is more chance of Peter Crouch scoring a hat trick and leading England to glory in the Final than an Indonesia or Thailand gracing the world stage.

Let's forget about Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines, the only real challenge from ASEAN is likely to come from Singapore and Thailand and to a, much, lesser extent, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Singapore are the currents kings of the bloc but can such a tiny country force its way on to the big stage eliminating regional powerhouses such as Iran and Japan. On paper it looks unlikely but football is a funny old game Saint and anything can happen. The Lions are ranked 92nd in the FIFA rankings whatever that means, USA top 10, puh-leese, Australia 42nd, Japan 18th for context. They do have a reasonable local league which hardly packs in the crowds but this being Singapore they do have a blueprint in place for footballing success but they may find this more challenging than developing Changi as an aviation hub, and the willingness to dish out Singapore passports to likely lads is no guarantee to success. Young Lions, the current leaders of the S League, is made of young Singapore players who the authorities hope will form the nucleus of a future World Cup assault but being the big fish in such a small pond can be limiting. Still, they are trying and they are doing something which pretty much makes them unique in the region.

Until recently Thailand were the top dog based around the nucleus of the 1994 Asian Cup team but they've grown old and, best efforts of Peter Withe aside, they have not been followed by any new generation. The domestic league is a shambles but hope lies not in Beer Chang sponsoring a minor team on the Mersy but in having players train overseas with bigger clubs for extended periods, hopefully some of them can start to make the grade and increase interest back home but Thailand doing well in anything bigger than the Tiger Cup seems a long way off. For the last 10 years or so Thailand has also played host to big European clubs like Real Madrid, Arsenal, Bayern who recognise the spending power of middle class Thais but there has been little knock on benefits for Thai football.

Indonesia and Malaysia both have strong well supported domestic leagues though for sure the Indonesian League suffers from lack of real investment and crowd trouble. They are however looking at spending several months in England to work on basics like learning the laws and learning to pass, not shoot from 35 yards. This is preparation for next years Asian Cup being part hosted in Indonesia but they haven't played a game for 12 months, surely they would be better off preparing by playing games locally if that is their short term goal? The money would be better spent on improving local pitches so basic ball skills can be developed locally, not the other side of the world?

Finally, Indonesia, or its colonial predecessor the Dutch East Indies, are the only ASEAN team to have graced the World Cup so far from the region. A story that should be told here. Soon...

Laters...

Comments:
Hi Mate,

do you have any pictures of your casuals?
Otherwise check out my site if you want.
bpcasual.blogspot.com
Cheers
bpcasual
 
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