The FFA has run smack into a quandary. Target fostering the game at home by:
a. Making each game attract as big an audience as possible
b. Qualify at all costs for Africa 2010 and let that hoopla grow the game
Trouble is sometimes it is better to have a and sometimes b. And you can start off going for a but then you change to b. Like in the lead up Australia v China when it could have been the qualification game of the series and you want to squeeze everything out of that. But then you are already qualified and you what to keep your players happy so you let them go home and field the 2nd team. Then your a. audience goes home feeling under-whelmed.
Qatar beat Iraq 1-0 at Iraq's home ground - so their Brazilians and Uruguayans paid off after all. It is worth noting that Qatar did the heavy lifting in the group and conceded 6 points to Australia - while Australia only gained 3 points from Iraq and 1 from China. Hmmmm.
The Roar now look set to go into 2008-2009 without Brazilians. This is the draw back of buying very low cost players - Og and Reinaldo - making them key players then selling or losing them. Reinaldo made a lot of money but no room under the salary cap. Since Australia is the home of relatively cheap players, you have to look really hard to replace like-for-like at the same cost. New Dutch signing Sergio Van Dijk probably more than covered the salary gap left by Reinaldo and Ante Milicic. Leaving little for risky Brazilians. The Roar has been burnt before - remember Zhang?
Meanwhile the Roar has covered the Ogman exit with QAS and young Socceroo defender Luke DeVere. While former Socceroo defender - and once North Queensland bound, Michael Thwaite, has be loaned to Melbourne. Be interesting to seen who got the best deal there. Clearly Thwaite believes what we all want - that the A-League is a route back to the Socceroos.