Asian World Cup struggles showcase problems at home
By Patrick Johnston
BRASILIA, June 23 (Reuters) - Eight matches gone and still Asia waits for a first win at the World Cup, with the struggles of the continent's four teams in Brazil demonstrating the coaching and administrative failings going on throughout the region.
Australia predictably bowed out after two defeats against tough opposition, while Japan, Iran and South Korea look set to follow them after each have managed only one point so far.
If that plays out, then Asia are likely to be the only one of the five FIFA confederations competing in Brazil not to have a team in the knockout stages.
"Asian teams year after year keep making the same mistakes, so they'll never be able to be on the same level as Europe or South America," Iran boss Carlos Queiroz told reporters.
"It's because of the competition system, the training and organisation. You cannot copy Europe because the day you think you are close, they are one step ahead because they also progress.
"But the officials persist in copying Europe and year after year the gap is higher and higher. It is a pity because 60 percent of the money in football comes from Asia and they have the worst conditions."
Asian champions Japan have proved the most disappointing of the quartet in Brazil, despite the investment and burgeoning health of the domestic J-League.
"I would really like Japan to do well on the pitch as they tend to do everything right off the pitch. The Japanese model is the one to follow in AFC," Englishman Steve Darby, who has coached throughout Asia from Australia to Bahrain, told Reuters.
"Japan has long-term goals - unlike many countries who have such short term ones based purely on immediate results - a strong league, underpinned by an organised systematic youth development program.
"Far too often the coaching positions in youth development are "given" to people and it is such an important role."