SYDNEY: Australia have decided on long-term construction rather than short-term expediency in appointing Ange Postecoglou as new national coach in succession to Holger Osieck.
The German was sacked last week after two successive 6-0 defeats in friendly matches by Brazil and France despite having led the Socceroos to the World Cup finals in Brazil next year.
Speculation had surrounded a possible recall for former boss Guus Hiddink to bring his experience to bear on the trip to South America next June.
However Football Federation Australia decided instead that Postecoglou should be the first ‘home’ coach in 40 years to lead the Socceroos into the finals.
The 48-year-old’s five-year contract which will take him through next year’s finals in Brazil, Australia’s hosting of the 2015 Asian Cup and qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
FFA chairman Frank Lowy said the length of contract was an indication of trust in Postecoglou to build a team to represent Australia respectably on the international stage and ultimately to achieve regional supremacy within the Asian confederation.
He said: “We gonna win the World Cup? No. But other than that we’re going to do very well. He’s the right person for us at this stage of our development. In the last 10 years or so, we had coaches from overseas. That was the time for it then. Now it’s time for an Australian coach.
“The objective is definitely to be the No1 team in Asia, we have the knowledge, we have the players and now we have the coach.”
Postecoglou was chosen ahead of former Socceroos coach Graham Arnold and Western Sydney Wanderers manager Tony Popovic.
Born in Athens before moving to Melbourne as a child, Postecoglou follows Yugoslav-born Rale Rasic, who led the team at the 1974 World Cup, as the second Australian coach to take the national side to soccer’s showpiece event.
A former national youth team coach, he won back-to-back A-league titles with the Brisbane Roar before a move last year to Melbourne Victory.
Postecoglou did not think the two latest beatings results were “an accurate reflection” of Australia’s current standing and dismissed any talk of damage limitation for the 57th ranked Socceroos at the World Cup.
He said: “If I was into damage limitation, I wouldn’t be sitting here to be honest. The World Cup is an exciting time. When that comes around, I want people excited about watching our national team play.
“Our goal between now and then is restoring some hope in that. I’m here because I believe I can improve our world standing.”
Postecoglou will take charge of the Australia team for the first time in a friendly against Costa Rica in Sydney on Nov. 19.