Applications open for Oz coach role

Having made it through to the last 16 at Germany 2006, it would seem Australian football is set to go on to bigger and better things, however the coach who got them to where they are is moving on after the World Cup, and the Socceroos need a replacement.

    Guus Hiddink holds court at a press conference

    Guss Hiddink, current coach of Australia, will take up the vacant national coaching position in Russia once the World Cup Finals are over, and Football Federation of Australia Chief Executive John O'Neill hinted that the Dutchman may be replaced by another well known manager.

    "I've had some expressions of interest since I've been here from some fairly big names," O'Neill told reporters.

    "We wouldn't have got it a year ago. It's a reflection of the fact we've never been on this stage.

    "You'd argue we'd be in the top 16 teams in the world now. We beat Japan who are ranked 18th, drew with Croatia who are 23 and we could have drawn with Brazil who are ranked No.1.

    "We need another Guus Hiddink. What a difference he's made and the further we go in this tournament, quite reputable coaches are approaching us."

    In the pre-Hiddink era, Australian football would probably never have entered the thoughts of the world’s best coaches, but with the recent success of the Socceroos, the FFA are in a position to pick and choose, with O’Neill stating that they won’t just settle for anyone when they make their choice.

    On the way up: The Socceroos

    "We'd like to aim for someone who really wants to do it, at a price that's affordable for us, and as we have with Guus, incentive-based on success," he said.

    "We've got to get the right person who’s got the football nous, and the cultural compatibility with Australia, and the desire to take us on to the next level.

    "We don't want anyone who's thinking about semi-retirement. You don't want the Socceroos coach to be sitting up in splendid isolation from the rest of the organisation," O’Neill added, in reference to his desire to see the new national coach spend half the year in Australia during their domestic A-League season.

    Some of the rumoured suitors for the position have been current Olympique Lyon coach Gerard Houllier and former World Cup winning coach with Argentina, Carlos Bilardo, with the salary for the job likely to be around $2.8 millon per year.

    The Socceroos are in Kaiserslautern where they will play Italy in their second round match, with the winner going through to meet either Switzerland or Ukraine in the quarter finals.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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