Drawing Board Required – Where Do the FAI Go From Here

Drawing Board Required – Where Do the FAI Go Now

So Ireland failed in their quest to get to Russia 2018 but instead of going after the players or management which he has been done enough since the result on Tuesday evening. They were comfortably defeated 5-1 by a Danish side who like Ireland are very workmanlike but unlike Ireland they have a number of players willing to keep possession and try and play their way out of trouble.  

This defeat will sting for the next 12 months at least and with no tournament to look forward to other than a number of friendly’s that will be played next March and some  teams will come to Dublin looking for a game in preparation for the finals in Russia.

The FAI again like after the 6-1 defeat to Germany in 2012 will need to do a lot of soul searching to try and find a solution to all the problems facing the national side and this is not just who will replace members of the playing squad who may retire in the coming months. 

They need to solve an identity crisis that is happening on a regular basis and that is mainly what way do we want our national teams to play and I mean underage sides up to the senior national team. Are we a nation with an abundance of naturally talented footballers , I doubt it but and player who shows the required talent should be singled out at the earliest possible stage and put into a programme to develop his or her skills.

This particular idea would not be a easy thing to implement as the FAI and supporters want instant results but if you want to be successful in any walk of life not just sport it will take time and effort, Germany and Spain are two prime examples of countries who cleared the decks and started with a clean slate and rebuild their structures from the ground up.

The first thing you are told when you try and offer a solution is that our population is too small, we are competing with Rugby, GAA and so forth but so are all the other sports played in Ireland. It is just the way it is and it will not change is the foreseeable future because all those aforementioned sports are going nowhere and you will still be competing for the small pool of talent that exists in this country.

The FAI needs to like the IRFU just look at it structures from top to bottom and also who are in the positions of power within the FAI and ask is it time to change and try and bring in a new generation of people to run the game in Ireland. We have a generation of newly retired players, get them on board to help try and change the attitudes with the game in Ireland.

We are now in a situation where you will lose a number of players to retirement and the scramble will happen to see who will replace these departing players. Another issue facing the FAI is the fact that only 5 of the current Under 21 crop in Noel King’s care were born in the Republic Of Ireland and with all the consternation in recent times over the inclusion of Bundee Aki in the Ireland team to face South Africa last weekend, can you imagine the outcry this week from people if the Ireland side to face Fiji only had 5 players born in Ireland.

There would be utter condemnation of the structures that the IRFU in place. Getting back to the issues facing the Republic Of Ireland, It really is time that the FAI sat down with all the stake holders and people who love the game in this country and try and come up with a clear 10 year plan to try and bring the game in this country back to something of its former glory.

The League Of Ireland is the perfect breathing ground for a new generation of players to be born , yes England would be the preferred destination for most players but you cannot forget about the work being put in by coaches all over Ireland to try and change attitudes but the FAI need to be the ones to lead the call for change so that results like Tuesday night are going to become a distant memory , always remember long time gain for short term pain….. The good times were had before and no doubt those good days will return very soon…


Cian Mc Gibney


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