LAST week on Football Federation Australia's official website, an article was written under the heading: "Local coaches up to the task for Socceroo role".
For those who may not have read the article, the writer states: "It remains a national shame that in the 50 years since we rejoined FIFA, Frank Farina remains the only home-grown Australian coach the national team has had."
I replied to the Speak Your Mind section on the website and would like to take this opportunity to put the record straight.
The first Australian home-grown coach since we rejoined FIFA 50 years ago was Rale Rasic, followed by Les Scheinflug, then Raul Blanco and Eddie Thompson, with Rasic also being the first home-grown coach to have taken the Socceroos to a World Cup.
All four mentioned gained their coaching stripes here in Australia. None of them had coached overseas before coaching here, with Rasic being the only one never to have coached overseas at all, even though numerous opportunities presented themselves following the Socceroos appearance at Munich 1974.
Les Scheinflug later did a short stint in Fiji while Eddie Thompson had a spell in Japan, and Raul Blanco was given the role of technical director to the New Zealand team, who remained the only unbeaten nation at the World Cup in South Africa, 2010.
In the FFA website article, Rale Rasic, Raul Blanco and Eddie Thompson were all quoted as foreign coaches along with Joe Venglos, Frank Arok, Terry Venables and Guus Hiddink, while Les Scheinflug, Australia's most successful national coach ever, never even rated a mention.
With regards to the present debate on our next national coach, the article declares: "That at the time of writing it appears Ange Postecoglu and Graham Arnold were very much in the mix, but which one of the locals deserve the job?" asks the writer.
My question is: how does this employee of the FFA rate Ange — who has since been appointed to the Socceroos coaching job — a local when he was born in Athens, Greece?
* Ray Richards was a member of the 1974 Socceroos, coached by Rale Rasic. To read an extended version of this column, go to our website, fairfieldchampion.com.