It’s federal election time in Australia, and while the rhetoric and shameless baby-kissing might not be to every taste there is one aspect which promotes a mildly inquisitive response: the live TV debate.
Prime Minister John Howard and PM-hopeful Kevin Rudd went at it earlier this month in the battle to be the next Aussie leader, Rudd conclusively coming out on top according to most.
With three weeks of the election campaign still to endure, time will tell whether the nation’s esteemed political commentators or indeed Channel Nine’s unofficial approval ‘worm’ were more accurate in their forecasts.
But one thing remains certain: Howard and Rudd could not have been given a more democratic platform on which to state their respective cases.
Which brings me to the latest goings on at former glamour club Sydney FC.
Head coach Branko Culina was extended no such niceties before last week’s axing less than a quarter of the way through the two-year contract he earned after a successful probationary period guiding Sydney in the AFC Champions League.
No time to turns things around, no opportunity to explain, no second chance.
The season was nine weeks old, Sydney had lost four times at home and Culina was history.
It seems that Culina, although a technically capable coach, had lost the dressing room through his mishandling of the side’s more sizable egos and with crowds and the embattled club’s ladder position simultaneously dwindling, Sydney’s board acted swiftly and brutally.
Before you could say grand final mauling, John Kosmina had been anointed at the 2005/06 champions.
Kosmina, Sydney’s fourth coach in just over two seasons, polarises football opinion more than any political leader.
If there’s one thing true of the incorrigible Kossie it’s that you’ll never reach a consensus.
Accused by his detractors of being old school, his Bandar Togel Online supporters respond by saying that’s exactly the type of leader Sydney need.
Suggest he’s a hothead and get rebuked for wanting to see the passion disappear from the game.
Applaud his coaching nous in guiding Adelaide United to the inaugural premiership and last season’s grand final and critics point to his contribution as assistant coach in Australia’s failed Asian Cup campaign.
Kosmina hadn’t even been formally named as Culina’s successor before Sydney’s Daily Telegraph helpfully published the coach’s recent ‘rap sheet’.
It included such gems as him threatening to punch ex-Queensland coach Miron Bleiberg for insulting his players and grabbing Melbourne captain Kevin Muscat around the throat when the pair clashed in the technical area during one heated game.
That incident earned Kosmina a four-match touchline ban (plus counselling) which the former Socceroos striker swiftly trumped when he received a five-match ban for calling referee Matthew Breeze a cheat moments after last season’s preliminary final victory.
Kosmina was still in the midst of serving out that suspension when he guided Sydney to an emphatic 3-2 victory over the league leading Central Coast Mariners over the weekend.
He had just three training sessions after taking the job last Wednesday yet produced a side brimming with a confidence unseen so far this season
“Are you the new messiah, Kossie?” one reporter asked him afterwards during the media conference.
“Nah, not at all mate,” he smiled back, pointing towards the performances of Socceroos striker Alex Brosque and debutant Michael Bridges.
Brosque scored twice to take him to the head of the goalscoring charts while Bridges, in his first game since signing on loan from Hull City in England, caused the Mariners’ backline no end of havoc.
“Kossie and I have come in and we’ve beaten the Mariners and there’s no better way to bounce back than to beat the league leaders,” Bridges gloated.
“His attitude has been phenomenal, the boys have been brilliant at training and he’s got everybody up – and you could tell.”
The pair are back on the campaign trail this week before Saturday’s meeting with NSW rivals Newcastle.