Opinion: Bielsa not Hiddink the man to rescue Australia

Goal Australia's Chief Editor Iain Strachan believes Argentine Marcelo Bielsa rather than Dutchman Guus Hiddink should be approached as a caretaker to replace Holger Osieck

The clamour to bring back Guus Hiddink as Australia coach is understandable, but the concept of re-appointing the Dutchman is driven by nostalgia and would be a stop-gap solution at best.

That doesn't mean Holger Osieck should be afforded a stay of execution. The German succeeded in qualifying the Socceroos for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but the manner in which he did so has seen him fail in his responsibility to safeguard the future of the national team.

Osieck's unwillingness or inability to ascertain the true worth of the country's emerging talents - by consistently overlooking or marginalising them on the big stage - has left Australia desperately ill-equipped to effectively meet the challenges of next year's tournament in Brazil, the 2015 Asian Cup on home soil and the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.

Even a sudden willingness to instigate significant change to the age profile of the squad should not be enough to save Osieck, who has demonstrated none of the leadership qualities, man-management ability or tactical acumen necessary to produce a competitive team from a wider pool of talent.

The antidote to the stagnation experienced under Osieck is to hire an Australian intimately familiar with the challenges of the game in this country, and with a proven record of putting their faith in young players.

Ange Postecoglou and Graham Arnold are the outstanding candidates. Both men have been part of the national structure before, with mixed results.

But since those early days they have blossomed into the two outstanding coaches in this country, winning A-League titles, helping to transform the technical standard of the domestic competition and regularly overseeing the development of promising young players from youth level to regular first-team football.

Neither is likely to be willing to walk out on their club before or during the A-League season in favour of the wearisome task of fixing Osieck's mess, nor - for the good of the wider sport - should they be asked to.

So hiring a caretaker coach to take over from Osieck remains the most appealing solution before a long-term appointment can be made.

The fire-fighting job will require presence, strength of conviction and a reputation capable of winning the PR battle during what is sure to be a painful period, including a potentially chastening World Cup experience.

Fans, observers and former players have all called for Hiddink to be approached as the Socceroos' potential saviour.

The Dutchman enjoys god-like status in Australia, but his tenure here ended more than seven years ago, and his bulletproof reputation is intrinsically linked to the generation of Jason Culina, Mark Viduka and Lucas Neill.

It is the very same generation whose remnants Osieck has so irresponsibly bled dry, a generation which stumbled over the line in World Cup qualification and which finally came unstuck in spectacular fashion in Brasilia early last Sunday morning.

Were he to accept FFA's distress call, the 66-year-old would be confronted with a less talented pool of players to work with and there is the danger he could tarnish his previously untouchable legacy.

Rather than going back to the future with Hiddink, David Gallop and Frank Lowy should put in a call to Argentine Marcelo Bielsa.

Noted for preaching an excessive work-rate, tactical discipline and high pressing, his methods and fearlessness would be ideally suited to shaking up the Socceroos, and would by definition necessitate a changing of the guard.

It remains to be seen if the former Chile and Athletic Bilbao coach would be interested in the prospect of a short-term role with a country well outside football's traditional heartlands.

But with the health of the national team and the future of the game in Australia at stake, it is a question FFA is duty bound to ask.

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