Nelsen may be wasting his time at Toronto FC

BILLY HARRIS
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2013

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OPINION: There are two kinds of managers. Those who've been sacked and those who are about to be.

Nowhere is that saying truer than at Toronto FC, the club Ryan Nelsen is taking charge of, who go through managers like poop through a goose.

The other saying beloved of managers and coaches is that nothing beats playing.

Now nobody but the old warrior Nelsen knows the discomfort he was going through as he put in his usual 110 per cent for Queens Park Rangers and the All Whites.

His knees are in such a state he can hardly train. But Nelsen seems like the kind of man who likes to see a job through, and his teams are halfway through two massive jobs - one trying to stay in the Premier League, and the other to reach the World Cup finals.

So you can't help but wonder, especially if he gets the axe like the seven Toronto managers in seven years before him, if he'll wish he'd hung on for just a few months longer to help his teams, both of who desperately need him if they're to achieve their respective goals.

After all, as another saying goes, you're a long time retired.

A FEW weeks back a Dutch linesman was killed by two youths over what they thought was a bad call. Fifa president Sepp Blatter should accept some of the blame for failing to address the culture of disrespect toward match officials.

Now we have the unseemly scuffle between a Swansea City ball boy and Chelsea player Eden Hazard, and again, Blatter is culpable.

There's nothing new about time wasting, but this case, where the odious little prat flopped on the ball to stop Hazard getting it, was taking it to a new level.

Time wasting is an infuriating part of the game which robs losing teams of their most valuable commodity - time - and though referees have the power to add time on to make up for the stoppages, it's never enough. So the cheats keep cheating and the victims keep getting frustrated.

Blatter could sort it out by introducing the timekeeping system used in basketball and American football, among other sports. When the ball goes dead, the clock stops. Time wasting is impossible and all the dirty tricks are erased at a stroke.

Perhaps Blatter could reflect on the Fifa slogan - For the Good of the Game - as he chucks back the caviar and champagne.

WHAT TO do about our own ASB Premiership? There are eight teams playing each other twice before a brief playoff series. That's just 14 games, patently not enough for footballers aspiring to reach the A-League, the All Whites and beyond. There used to be three rounds, but that was scuppered due to finance. Furthermore, the quality within the league is dropping.

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Manawatu, Waikato and Otago once had strong teams, but nowadays they get thumped pretty much on a weekly basis.

Manawatu, in particular, are in a bad way. Despite the valiant efforts of some good people, they're bottom of the league, with just three points from 10 games before this weekend, having conceded 3.4 goals per game. They finished bottom last season and the season before. Of their last 38 games, they've won two and drawn four.

That sort of record demands relegation, but with no relegation Manawatu limp on, to nobody's real benefit.

Meanwhile, there are enough players in Auckland not getting into the Waitakere United or Auckland City teams to make up a third competitive Auckland team.

- Billy Harris is a former All White

- Sunday Star Times

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