By Jesse Fink
A good friend of mine who shall remain nameless - a former Socceroo who played professional football in South-East Asia and currently known for his work as a TV pundit - fired a peculiar broadside privately during the week.
With trademark bluster, he argued in the wake of the Robbie Deans-coached Wallabies' humiliation at the hands of France in Paris that no national team in any sport should be allowed to have foreign coaches. (Deans, you see, is a pesky Kiwi.)
The tirade didn't stop there.
He also contended those same national teams shouldn't be allowed to have any foreign-born players.
My friend, remember, represented Australia at the highest level. A country whose football history was built on the hard work, skill, culture and passion of its immigrant communities.
Australian football simply wouldn't be where it is today without the contribution of immigrant names that span the geographical breadth of Europe and South America, such as Culina, Crino, Schaefer and Bresciano.
My friend, locally born, played alongside many foreign-born players.
Moreover, the country whose crest he touched proudly with the palm of his hand during national anthems has made the finals of three World Cups with foreign coaches.
Not one Australian-born coach has ever led the senior men's team to the biggest sporting tournament on earth.
So it was a puzzling, bizarre, almost self-undermining argument from a bloke who made good money plying his trade as a sporting mercenary in South-East Asia, where foreign imports have long been part of the region's football narrative.
Singapore, for instance, the home of ESPN STAR Sports, makes heavy use of foreign players not just in the S-League but the national team, which, lo and behold, is coached by a foreigner. What exactly is my friend's problem?
In some parts of the world, particularly frontiers for football such as Australia and Singapore, recruiting foreign players and coaches is not an indulgence but a necessity.
Their presence is good for raising playing standards, professionalism, spectator interest, marketing value, commercial revenue and, most importantly of all, chances when it comes to World Cup qualifying campaigns.
There are adequate rules in place in terms of player naturalisation and team quotas on foreign players to ensure national identity (and national integrity, for that matter) isn't sacrificed for the sake of winning by whatever means.
There is also a general acceptance among fans and administrators that having lofty aspirations (such as World Cup qualification) usually requires taking a broader view of how to achieve success.
If it means utilising foreign expertise and experience to fulfil those goals, so be it.
In an ideal world, yes, all national teams would be made up of players born only in the countries they represent and the coaches who lead them would be held to the same requirement.
But that's not the real world.
My lippy friend would do well to bear in mind that Italy, a country with a football team made up of Italians and led by Italians that has won four World Cups, isn't so strong when it comes to rugby.
Its current squad includes a clutch of Argentineans, Australians, South Africans and even a Canadian. And it's coached by a Frenchman.
Is Italy up in arms about it like my friend is about Deans? Hardly. Italians know that to get to where they want to get in rugby there are some things they just have to do. Being a little open-minded, prime among them.
My friend might be well served doing the same.