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Holger Osieck Article From Toronto Sun


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From the Toronto Sun:

No Regrets for Osieck


Only in Canada, you say. Indeed, it's only in Canada that a bunch of underachieving soccer players who are ranked 90th in the world could, along with their equally underachieving national sport officials, chase Holger Osieck, former coach of Canada's national soccer team, into exile. Did Osieck commit professional harakiri? Not on your life. The highly respected coach was hired by the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), the highest office in global soccer.

Being the gentleman he is, Holger refused to place any blame or criticism on the players of Canada's underachieving national team. Nor on the officials who didn't have the backbone to oppose the players.

FIFA had different plans for the German-born coach, who tutored in many parts of the world and once was assistant to Franz Beckenbauer, the Kaiser of German soccer. At any rate, FIFA embraced this valuable soccer expert and made him a member of FIFA's technical Committee.

"It happened several months ago that I received a call from the head of FIFA's technical committee, who offered me a job," Holger told me from his office in Zurich, Switzerland. "I then flew over for further discussions, met with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and became a member of the committee that is charged with the technical development of the game of soccer.

"I tried that system in Canada, but some people bristled at my direct approach. And when I stepped on a few toes, they didn't like it. But that's all behind me. Now I'm looking forward to my own apartment in Zurich and to the arrival of my wife, Elizabeth."

One of Osieck's first jobs was to evaluate players of the recently completed Euro 2004 tournament and help select the all-star team. He witnessed about 16 matches personally and watched some others on television.

"But there's a big difference between watching the game in the stadium and watching it on a TV screen," he said." Judging from personal experience, I think the standard of play in Euro 2004 was good, the soccer was attractive and the speed was impressive. Moreover, the matches were technically well-played.

"I liked several players such as Baros and Nedved from the Czech Republic and, from Portugal, Figo as well as the imaginative Ronaldo and the defensive standout Ricardo Cavallo. Of the Swedes I liked Larssen best and from France, Zidane, who's always a treat to watch. England's young Rooney could become a star in the future."

Speaking volumes about team play, Osieck made no mention of a player from the champion Greek side. Maybe that's what Osieck knew he had to do in Canada --create a very disciplined, team approach to overcome the lack of a true soccer superstar. However, I suppose that the nation (Canada) which has bred an athletic system were the inmates run the asylum couldn't accept the hard path needed to compete with the world's best.

After his disappointing experience in Canada, Osieck is now enjoying being in the hub of soccer in Europe, although he's in no way critical of Canada.

"I felt good in Canada and so did my family," he offered. "My son is still working in soccer in western Canada and he's very happy there."

It's unfortunate that Holger's talents were not appreciated by the people who run soccer in Canada--into the ground.

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Holy. Don't mix words. Just come out and say what you mean already.

Now don't get me wrong. If I'd have had my way Holger would still be the man in charge, but I always thought getting appointed to the FIFA technical committie (or most any FIFA committie) was mostly just patronage. So not realy a good guage for measuring a persons footballing genius.

And before the darts start flying in my direction, yes, I'm okay with Yallop as the new manager so far. A breath of fresh air which has apparently been wanting for some time and maybe coming just early enough as not to be too upsetting to the WCQ program such as it is.

Just a little leary about these Frankie Yallop Fun Camps which are suppose to come off as training. Maybe people are just over playing the "having fun during training" bit because it contrasts so much with Holger's camps.

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Holger was horrible. Simple as that. He did bring us success in 2000, but that was 4 years ago. It was time to move on to a coach who can bring some talent back to our country, such as, Jazic, Bircham,etc. Holger really limited his options with player pools when he basically turned players away from their country. He was a disaster after the Gold Cup.

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Well, I am not so sure about this article anymore.

I wasn't keen about the coach change, but I guess there is more to coaching than just your soccer knowledge. In such an interactive position,your personal skills are just as important and there is no doubt that HO was a bit rough around the edges and probably hurt too many players along the path.

Still, to this date, he is one of only two managers to have led Canada to anything worthwhile, so he should be given some credit for that. But his whole player selection and substitution was more often than not puzzling.

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True. Not only did he win the Gold Cup but, much like Otto Rehagel, he did it with a team that had much less individual talent compared to the current squad. I too could quibble some of his player selections, but he really had a relatively small pool to choose from in the first place. So it would be easier to be critical of his selection process if he were coaching one of the european superpowers for example. Half of our curent starting eleven are pretty much "no brainers" that any coach coach would choose. As for the players that he stopped selecting, well its still way to see whether or not their contributions were missed during Holgers stay as coach. We will have to see over the next 6 months whether or not he was wrong. In some cases, it was because they stopped producing, in others, it was discipline or talent. Afterall, that is what a coach is suppoed to do isn't it?. He did select consistantly the likes of Devos, Stalteri, Radzinski, and DeRosario, to name a few. Despite their recent positive contribution, nobody could possibly argue that Jazic and Bircham, bring more talent to the table than those four.

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I did not like the article.

Holger deserves his due for what he brought to Canadian Soccer. Professionalism, the knowledge that they could play with anyone, the Gold Cup, technical training centres, and probably a few more things. There is no question that Holger deserves credit.

However, it was painfully obvious that his time was up. It was simply a case of many a well known hockey coach, four year contract - two year act. (in the dictionary, see Pat Burns and Jacques Demers)

Players more and more were refusing to play for him and we were not getting any results.

We are yet to know what lies ahead with Frank, but it does seem to be a 180 degree turn in style. We now have a players' coach.

But to portray Holger's firing as a player power play, ridicule it because Canada is ranked 90th in the world, then then laud the fact that Holger was appointed to some Fifa committee, is comical to anyone who knows anything about World Soccer.

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I am with Ivan on this one. As a Technical type, Holger was very good. But as a coach, he was done. He lost the players, and he has only himself to blame. Keeping in mind that most of the players he lost were either playing, or had played in Europe, and it becomes clear that it was not lazy daisy canucks who knew nothing of how football runs in the old country, rather, it was a matter of a coach who was technically very proficien but lacked in people skills. He had brought us as far as he could. If he continued to have some role developing the technical infrastructure in Canada, I'd be thrilled, as a NT manager, he was lacking.

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Well the article was written by George Gross, so it comes as no surprise that it is crap.

I'm glad he wrote it for the sake of finding out what Holger is up to these days, but the condemnation of the Canadian players as "under-achievers" is somewhat laughable (were we one of the favourites for the 2000 Gold Cup then?). If the players are under-acheiving under a coach, who is responsible for that? Even if you argue that it is in no way the coach, what are you supposed to do to fix the problem. Get rid of the coach, who is replaceable, or get rid of every single Canadian national team player, who are not?

I was never one for leading the charge to fire Holger or anything (especially as I was concerned about who they would replace him with) but as it's turned out, thus far, I think it has been all for the best for all concerned.

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I didn't think much of the article, nor did I find it offensive that

Canadians were described as "underachievers". But I question the

assumption that we're going downhill despite going through the next

round of WCQ. The team is relatively new, so it's too early to judge

Yallop and the team. I bet if we go through this round we'd still get

a crap article written.

Kudos to Holger for having some class and not blaming anyone for his

departure. All the best to him in FIFA. As for writers like this guy, show up for a few live games and write an article on MNT

without concentrating on the FIFA rankings. Canada had to get rid of Holger to salvage their WCQ dreams, earlier than Costa Rica (Sampson) and Honduras (Milotinovic). With Yallop, so far so good...

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I'm with Redhat, Holger showed a lot of class in how he handled this whole thing. If only Gross had shown as much class.

I was willing to put up with a lot with Holger -- I wasn't calling for his head after WCQ, nor after some of the poor showings we had for some friendlies (Malta comes to mind). But after struggling through to third place at Gold Cup 02 and being knocked out on our arses at Gold Cup 03, and after poor showings at pretty much every friendly in that period, I was fine with him being replaced.

However, since Gross seems only to watch soccer when there's a real tournament on -- like where England or Italy are playing, I imagine -- I'm not surprised that he missed the 01-03 period in Canadian soccer.

So what place were we in when Holger finished his tenure? Not 65th any more, I'm pretty sure of that...

Allez les Rouges,


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What a negative article. This is the kind of media the game as a whole in Canada doesnt need. Especially considering the revolving door that is football coaching.

But all that aside, I am glad Holger landed on his feet somwhere. I will never forget Gold Cup 2000 and '02.

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