FROM LEFT: Football Federation Australia (FFA) CEO David Gallop, new Socceroos head coach Ange Postecoglou and FFA Chairman Frank Lowy at a press conference in Sydney, Australia, yesterday. The FFA announced that Postecoglou has been appointed new head coach of Australia national team.
SYDNEY: Ange Postecoglou was yesterday appointed coach of Australia’s national football team following the sacking of German Holger Osieck, and will lead them to the World Cup in Brazil.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) handed Postecoglou a five-year contract that will also see him steer the Socceroos to the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia and beyond.
Osieck was dumped this month following successive 6-0 thrashings in Brazil and France.
FFA chief Frank Lowy had made clear he favoured a local despite reported interest from the likes of Dutchman Guus Hiddink and Argentine Marcelo Bielsa. Postecoglou was seen as favourite ahead of fellow A-League coaches Graham Arnold and Tony Popovic.
“It was always our plan that one day an Australian would be appointed coach, and I said precisely that when we appointed the previous coach,” said Lowy of the 48-year-old, who was born in Greece and emigrated to Australia as a five-year-old.
“But I have never taken the view that the coach should be an Australian for the sake of having an Australian. I have always believed we should get the best person we can for the job.
“The fact that Ange is the best qualified, and an Australian, achieves our objective.”
Postecoglou, who took Brisbane Roar to consecutive A-League championships before joining Melbourne Victory last year, said he was honoured and humbled to be chosen.
“The Socceroos belong to the people of this nation,” he said.
“It’s my job to make sure we represent all that’s good in Australian football. We need to strive for greatness, to play with spirit and have an unwavering belief in our mission.
“I was proud to represent my country as a player and I have the same immense feeling of pride today.”
Postecoglou, a shrewd defender in his playing days, was capped four times by the Socceroos before a knee injury ended his career early.
His first game in charge is expected to be against Costa Rica on November 19 in Sydney, with a squad for the match to be chosen next week, and he has his hands full after the team’s embarrassing thumpings by Brazil and France.
Only last week, he called for a “cultural shift” to revive the ailing Socceroos ahead of next year’s World Cup, with the future of several senior players -- including ageing captain Lucas Neill -- up in the air.
He said at the time that Australians do not want to hear that they must accept their team’s fate in Brazil next year.
“It is time now that our Socceroos were restored to the foundations they were built on,” he said, adding that he wanted to restore more pride in wearing the Australian jersey.
“For a long time the language that we hear about the Socceroos has methodically stripped away any form of honour and prestige that a national team should represent.
“First and foremost the team belongs to the country itself and its fans. It does not belong to any coach, player or administrator. Any representation within the team and management should be seen as privilege, not a right.”
His appointment was flagged by the media on Tuesday, with a compensation package for Melbourne Victory holding up the announcement.
Postecoglou was contracted with the club until 2015, earning a reported Aus$600,000 ($579,000) a year. AFP