Former Australia midfielder Josip Skoko believes Ange Postecoglou’s replacement should be local as Graham Arnold looms as the next head coach of the World Cup-bound Socceroos.
Despite securing Australia’s spot in Russia next year via the inter-continental play-offs last week, Asian Cup-winning boss Postecoglou resigned on Wednesday.
Speculation over his future had dominated headlines since the Socceroos overcame Syria in an AFC play-off in September, with the 52-year-old non-committal on his plans throughout the vital stages of Australia’s qualifying campaign.
Discussions over Postecoglou’s successor have centred on Sydney FC head coach and two-time A-League champion Arnold, who spent a brief stint in charge of the national side following Guus Hiddink’s memorable reign in 2006.
Whether it is Arnold or not, ex-Wigan Athletic and Hajduk Split player Skoko – who earned 51 international caps and featured at the 2006 World Cup – feels Football Federation Australia (FFA) should stick with an Australian coach.
“I’ll never be able to repay the sacrifices she’s made for me to follow my dream.” Ange Postecoglou has paid an emotional tribute to his family as he announced his resignation as Caltex Socceroos coach. pic.twitter.com/9KHwK2oSdQ
— Caltex Socceroos (@Socceroos) November 22, 2017
“You have to look at what’s there. It’s all good and well that we want to have someone who is similar to Ange or plays great football, but you have to see who is available and wants the job,” Skoko told Omnisport.
“It’s not an easy job to find a new coach. I think they went down the right path by having Australian coaches, because it’s difficult for a foreign coach to come and understand the way football is played in Australia, the challenges Aussies playing abroad face. It’s very unique.
“It would be a lot easier to have a local coach but they have to fit the bill. Obviously someone like Arnie [Arnold] has done it before. He has the runs on the board. He’s certainly done well with Sydney FC in recent years. He has led the national team before so he understands it all inside out. Arnold is something the FFA will consider for all of those reasons.
“If you went abroad, you’d have to see who is available and could fit the mould.”
Skoko added: “I think it’s a great opportunity now because you made it to a World Cup. It doesn’t matter who you put there, if it’s a top European coach or one of our own, the way we perform and the quality we have in the Socceroos has already been determined. What you get out of them now is a little bit extra.”
— OptaJason (@OptaJason) November 21, 2017
Postecoglou replaced German Holger Osieck in 2013 and he went on to win 22 of his 49 games in charge, which included a memorable Asian Cup triumph on home soil in 2015.
“I know most people would be saying you’ve done all the hard work, why would’t you go [to the World Cup] now? It’s the prize,” said Skoko. But we don’t know what goes on in Ange’s life and why he wouldn’t. Everyone has their reasons for that they do. You have to respect that.
“If you look at what he’s done in terms of winning an Asian Cup, which hasn’t happened before. That’s a huge thing.
“He’s qualified for the World Cup. His results are pretty good. If he hadn’t qualified for the World Cup now, I think everybody would’ve had the right to question him.
“He has changed the way the Socceroos play. He has done a few things his way. It hasn’t been dull football, it’s been quite entertaining. I think he will be remembered in a positive light.”
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