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Jan 9, 2011

Osieck wants A-League season extended

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck is such a fan of the A-League he wants to see the season extended to include more games.

Amid concerns from coaches and the players' association the number of games could be cut back next season to compensate for the introduction of a knockout cup competition, the German feels doing the opposite would give the league the best chance to flourish.

"I've seen a great deal of good, exciting games in the league and some good individual performances ... I'm enjoying it," Osieck said.

"What I think is necessary is that you probably have to extend the league, get more games.

"Maybe we were internally discussing already what kind of modifications could be on in order to really make it more interesting even for the public.

"If that happens then they will permanently rise and the more people you get on board."

A-League teams currently play 30 league games a season, but there could be a move to reduce that, particularly if troubled North Queensland are forced to fold.

Football Federation Australia has also signalled its intention to delay the start of the season to avoid clashing with the NRL and AFL, but Osieck felt the A-League should focus on forging its own path.

"I'm a foreigner so I can only judge on hearsay about the other sports in Australia, and the conflicts regarding overlapping schedules," he said.

"But if you want to find your own identity, you have to go your own way without considering that.

"... What can you lose? If you have teams with average (crowds) of 3000 or 4000, what can you lose? You don't lose any people there.

"Instead you have to make sure you get more people.

"Look at Brisbane, I went there for a couple of games. The better they played, the more they win, the more people show up. In Melbourne it's different because people go there to the games."

While Osieck's predecessor Pim Verbeek was sometimes criticised for his perceived poor opinion of the A-League, the new coach has made it clear he feels he has a role to play in developing Australian football.

"That is why I opted to live in Australia. I'm not a distant coach, coaching a team via computer or laptop," Osieck said.

"I choose to live in Australia to be close to people, to get an idea about the excellent potential for development and I'm definitely interested.

"Wherever I go I try to promote the domestic league.

"First of all it's a great achievement that it was set in place and secondly it's a good breeding place for local talent."

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