Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Swadeshi Mantra!

So the ‘Foreign Coach Syndrome’ is not a phenomenon just restricted to India and/or Indian cricket. Following a somewhat poor showing at the Confederations Cup, Socceroos (Aussie soccer team) team boss Frank Farina (a former international striker himself) resigned just months ahead of important World Cup qualifiers; then promptly proceeded to raise the old bogey. I’m sure Farina was speaking out of genuine concern – having played and coached the team, his passion is beyond doubt. In fact, his close attachment to Australian soccer may have actually clouded his judgment. The malaise is hardly rare or unique to a particular sport or country, I think, but countries with strong traditions are more susceptible to it. Sven-Goran Eriksson wasn’t exactly garlanded when he was offered and accepted the England job. Duncan Fletcher probably escaped the scrutiny because of the doldrums English cricket found itself in, and perhaps partly because he was involved with the county game for a long time. Coming back to the Socceroos, if they have to achieve their aim of reaching the World Cup, which they have a genuine chance of, the only constraint should be money. The only yardstick should be quality, not the type of passport. - NK PS: Swadeshi - Mahatma Gandhi brought the word into the Indian mainstream to invoke national pride in colonial India, urging Indians to boycott goods produced in Britain in favour of those produced at home. Man, I suck at history!

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