Dreams won't produce winning coach

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

The question is quite simple.

Would hiring Guus Hiddink guarantee Canada's qualification for the 2014 World Cup? Would bringing in Luiz Felipe Scolari make a difference? Or what about hiring (insert high profile soccer coach's name here)? Would that make a difference?

Are those coaches going to suddenly find new talent or get more out of the old talent that in the long run is the only thing that will make a difference on the pitch?

Probably not.

In the days following the hoopla that is the World Cup qualifying draw, Canada named a new men's national team coach. They removed the interim tag from Stephen Hart and gave him the job outright. The announcement only emphasized the painful reality for soccer fans in this country Canada was not at the World Cup and hadn't been since its one-and-only trip to the tournament in 1986.

After a slew of failed coaches, almost all of whom were Canadian trained, there was this absurd hope Canada would fork out bags of money and hire a high-profile foreign coach. Even if there was the cash available, getting a foreign coach that would make a difference, can understand the culture of Canadian soccer and the problem it faces is no easy task.

Yes, the CSA appears to have taken the easy route in appointing Hart, going into its system to hire someone it knows and some would say can control. Even though Hart has put together a solid record as interim coach of the national team, there is the usual disappointment in the soccer community with what appears to be Canada's reluctance to look outside the box.

Hart may have had some success in Gold Cup competitions and friendlies but critics will point out that qualifying for a World Cup brings an altogether far greater challenge and that Hart hasn't done anything to prove he can coach at that level.

This was the wrong time to hire someone such as Hart, they chortle.

Far from it. There is no better time to hire someone such as Hart.

By all reports, Hart is not a master technician. He may not even be a master motivator. And there are plenty of successful coaches around the world who are in the same boat.

What they are good at is finding a good combination of players, finding a style of play they like and then get the most out of those players.

Hart won't close the door to older players but he won't play the same group of tired, recycled players just because they've always been in the lineup, such as some of his predecessors. He will recognize youth.

That's what Hart does. He hits the right note with those players and anyone that has watched Hart's national team play, recognizes it plays a far brighter, inventive game of soccer than it did with coaches such as Dale Mitchell.

A coach that can get players to play for him and be comfortable with him can get away with not being the best tactician in the world.

Hart deserves a chance at this gig and with four years until the next World Cup, there is no better time than now to give him that opportunity.

Qualifying for a World Cup is not a four-year process. If you have the players to compete for a World Cup qualifying berth, the real genesis of a national team bent on making the tournament begins to take shape two years before the event.

That is the real goal in all of this . . . a spot in the World Cup. Everything else is just preparation.

By that time, everyone will know whether Hart is the real deal.

If he isn't, the CSA will do what dozens of other nations do on a regular basis: Find someone else and give them two years to try.


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