Former coach John Kosmina has accused the A-League of disrespecting Australia’s second-tier competition and being obsessed with overseas players.
The former Adelaide United and Sydney FC coach, speaking at the launch of the second edition of the National Premier Leagues (NPL) on Tuesday, said that while the game had seen tremendous growth at the top level, the state-based leagues had suffered.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) last year kicked off the inaugural NPL competition in which, for the first time, all participating state and territory federations were made to operate under uniform guidelines and criteria.
While last season only five federations took part, this season will be a nationwide competition with Victoria and Western Australia on board.
The NPL was a result of the FFA’s review into the development pathways of the game and Kosmina said A-League coaches should be paying more attention the the talent in state-based leagues when they look to recruit.
He said the likes of Glen Trifiro, who just signed a loan deal with defending A-League champions Central Coast from NPL side Sydney United, was proof of that.
“I think the A-League since its inception, as much as it has been great for the game at the top level, at times has almost disrespected the local competitions,” he said.
“It’s been an us and them mentality and I know coaches have basically ignored the players in that second tier.
“The fact is there are good players in those local competitions all around Australia.
“There are players good enough there to play in the A-League if they’re given the opportunity.
“The A-League, for all its strength, I think one of its weaknesses is its obsession with overseas players.
“There are some good local players out there.”
Kosmina, who has 60 Socceroos caps under his belt, said if the NPL was used as a proper development pathway, he could see a time when Australian players would be able to ply their trade at home rather than overseas in search of a national call-up.
“I think the days of us having numbers and numbers of players playing in the top competitions oversees are numbered,” he said.
“Soon we’ll be spitting out Socceroos that are coming through the A-League and through our system rather than having to go oversees to develop and come back.”
FFA boss David Gallop said when it came time to expand the A-League, they would look at the NPL clubs to possibly be involved.
But as for a promotion-relegation system, Kosmina feels money will be the main deterrent.
“It comes down to money – it’s as simple as that,” he said.
“If you’re going to have a national second division, who’s going to pay for flights?
“The A-League clubs struggle for money … So unless you can find another 14 billion, we’re a long way from it but hopefully we’ll get there.”
Make your contribution to independent news
A donation of any size to InDaily goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. South Australia needs more than one voice to guide it forward, and we’d truly appreciate your contribution. Please click below to donate to InDaily.