Socceroos Embark into New Era

New Socceroos manager Ange Postecoglou offers hope
by Perry Tsangas   |   Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oz Football – column on the Australian A-League, Socceroos & the Aussie soccer scene.

After being handed two successive 6-0 defeats at the hands of Brasil and France, the Football Federation of Australia moved swiftly in finding the next Australian national team coach.

Holger Osieck’s position was made redundant after increasing pressure from fans and media alike. Australia’s performances where substandard to say the least, defensive frailties and lack of ideas and imagination going forward were cause for concern. Osieck’s reliance on the ‘golden generation’ may have granted him World Cup qualification in the short term, but his lack of confidence with younger players was evident as they were made the victims after several terrible performances.

The dynamics of Australian Football has significantly changed. The days when our national team players made headlines in Europe’s big leagues have gone. Opportunities have been limited for current Socceroos Robbie Kruse, Tomas Rogic and James Holland who play in the UEFA Champions League. The positive for the national team is that these players are still quite young, but the challenge for them is to break into their respective teams and become regulars, just like the golden generation before them.

Prospective national team players have also chosen a career path through the Arab and Asian leagues, competitions that have become financially beneficial for them, but in some cases led to their omission from Socceroo squads. Players are better served showing their qualities in the A-League where they will watch week-in and week-out.

The standard of the A-League keeps improving and can equally compete against Asian competition, therefore providing local players opportunity for national team selection. The latest Socceroo squad includes four A-League players, while the likes of James Troisi, Trent Sainsbury and Tomi Juric can count themselves unlucky to miss out.

Big name international coaches such as Guus Hiddink, Marcelo Bielsa and Roberto DiMatteo were rumored for the Socceroo job, but the time was right to appoint a home grown coach who understands the perplexities of the Australian game.

The trust and responsibility to rejuvenate the Socceroo brand has been given to Ange Postecoglou. He understands the dynamics of Australian football and puts trust into young players. Postecoglou surrounds himself with people he can trust and will bring back pride in the shirt. As well as earning 3 international caps as a player, Postecoglou is better known for transforming the local game, with a tiki taka football philosophy never seen before in Australia and winning back to back A-League championships with Brisbane Roar.

I have no doubt in Postecoglou’s capabilities of turning around the plight of the Socceroos, albeit in limited time. What will be interesting to see is how he can adjust to international football and the style he will choose to employ. We know from the past that he favors a young, mobile team with a disciplined structure encouraged to play a quick passing game. He’s an adventurous coach who is not afraid to use various styles in different environments, as was the case at Melbourne Victory with the use of the false nine system.

At the moment he is the right man for the job and has the backing of the Australian football family. He has openly stated that he will start with a ‘clean slate’. The players that are able to adjust to his style and show good form will definitely be rewarded. I expect every position to be contested ferociously as the reward is an appearance at the World Cup, the greatest show on earth where the Socceroos have performed admirably in the past. Postecoglou may surprise the football world next June with a new look Socceroos squad and by providing the necessary recognition that Australian coaches deserve on the international stage.

Postecoglou starts his tenure with a 7 day camp in Sydney starting on Monday, Nov. 11, before taking on Costa Rica in an international friendly on Tuesday, Nov. 19.


Northern Melbourne Institute of Tafe
Club Domestic:
Melbourne Victory FC
Club Foreign:
PAS Giannina
Perry hopes he can contribute to the growth of Australian football and play the best ambassadorial role for the sport. Currently a coach of Victoria in 7-a-side football for players disabilities.