Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - other countries to consider
Thursday, December 25 2008 @ 08:04 am ACDT
Contributed by: Brett Northey
In our continuing series towards a list of World Rankings for 2008, it's time to determine what other countries should be included. The obvious ones so far are the sides that attended the 2008 Australian Football International Cup. What other nations could reasonably be expected to provide a squad of say 22 players under International Cup qualification rules? The players should be active players, having played in 2008, but not restricted to those that can travel - let's assume the dream situation that all expenses are paid or that any international matches are hosted locally.
First of all let's note that we're still happy to take further comments regarding Spain/Catalan representation.
We can consider EU Cup teams. The tournament is 9-a-side so less demanding in player numbers, but can act as a guide, in concert with information on the local clubs that contribute to those teams. But it would appear most would struggle to field full squads that would qualify, though many would go close.
France and Germany appear to have reasonable numbers and could probably just manage enough all-local players to be included.
Other countries with programs include Tonga, Norway, Czech Republic, Croatia, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, The Netherlands, Andorra, Austria, East Timor, Switzerland, Argentina and Chile. Did any of those have 22 active players in 2008 that would qualify? The Solomon Islands may, though they are playing non-contact Recreational Football. Indonesia have some juniors coming through, and possibly a few adults playing with the mostly Aussie Jakarta and Bali clubs. Argentina has at stages had a 4 team competition, but disappears off the radar so often that it is difficult to judge.
What about the Asian clubs that are heavily expat-Australian based? For example Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines. Have any of those developed enough local players to qualify? Doubtful. The same applies to the many new clubs sprouting in the Middle East in Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc.
So what is the conclusion? Here is a suggestion, in no particular order, of countries to be included along with IC08 attendees:
Tonga - attended IC08 as part of the Multicultural event on the side
France - with so many recent new clubs surely enough players
Germany - has just managed enough for the Tri-Nations against Denmark and Sweden in previous years and their league has not shrunk so benefit of the doubt
Perhaps all others should not be included until their numbers are more definite and they have competed more fully on the international stage? Happy to hear dissenting views.