How to make international football and rugby exciting again
It’s that time of the global football season again: the managerial appointments. Only in England could you make such a mess of appointing the national footie coach – unless it’s the English national rugby coach we’re talking about, because that’s an even bigger shambles. It looks like the footie vacancy will be filled by Harry Redknapp, who, in fairness, is really good and really English. The rugby bloke must have 18 rocket science degrees and be capable of helping 15 big lumps play British Bulldog. We probably won’t know who it is for six months while the suits decide.
The problem for international football is that it isn’t actually very good, or very interesting, at the moment. When did we last have a decent World Cup, for example? But that said, the last Rugby World Cup was like watching paint dry.
Here’s one way to revitalise both: make sure every international team is comprised solely of people who actually come from said country. So the UAE, for example, would have an Emirati manager, an Emirati coach, an Emirati kit man, an Emirati dinner lady (or man).
At least then we’d all know where we stood. The same goes for up-and-coming rugby nations such as Japan – while Murray Williams is a good player, he isn’t the most Japanese of people. It’s like the Eastern European wrestlers who are being crowbarred into the British team to increase the UK’s hopes of winning top honours. It just dilutes the whole thing.
Only this week there’s a proposal to get rid of international footy friendlies, reducing the importance of the international game further. Surely one way to get all countries behind their teams is to make sure all the people representing them are from their very own country. It’s not difficult, is it?
One further thought: I wonder whether the prospective coaches of the world’s international football and rugby teams are looking at the quality of players available and thinking: ‘Do you know what? These people actually aren’t very good.’ As I say… it’s just a thought.
Hear Rob’s radio shows on Coast 103.2FM every Friday 11am-2pm live from the Mövenpick JBR (04 449 8888), and every Saturday 6pm-9pm live from the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).
And another thing… I had to chuckle the other week as I sauntered down JBR Walk on my way to the radio show at the Mövenpick. I suddenly stumbled across about 100 people wolfing down buckets of deep-fried chicken outside KFC at no later than 9.30am in the morning.
It turns out KFC had organised a fun run. While I’m all for causes that encourage fitness and wellbeing, it seemed hilarious for the competitors to be celebrating their new-found fitness by scoffing buckets of free greasy wings. You couldn’t make it up…