After a day of feverish speculation, the new Socceroos coach was revealed yesterday – German Holger Osieck. The first question was: who is he? Second question was: so who is he? “Holger?” asked one of my mates, “isn’t that some fancy bread?”

Das dinki-di: new Socceroos coach Holger Osieck

Osieck is not the big name most Socceroos fans were hoping for, and is probably a disappointment for many. But he’s about the right level for where we are as a football nation.

No one likes to gossip like soccer journos and the rumour mill was in full swing yesterday; it’s Klinsmann, some were saying. Ronald Koeman or Jose Pekerman, maybe even Martin O’Neill.

But Osieck’s announcement had that strange double-take effect. Wha…? Was this a real name or just a random group of letters pulled out of a Scrabble bag?

Osieck’s playing career was undistinguished but his coaching CV is as long as your arm. He was assistant coach for the 1990 World Cup-winning Germany side – also working as youth coach, a vital skill for the FFA; had a successful stint with the Canadian national team – meaning he knows how to make the most of meager resources; and won the Asian Champions League with Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds in 2007 – meaning a good knowledge of the Asian game and working with players from a young domestic competition.

For the past two years Osieck has been part of FIFA technical department, and he was recommended to Frank Lowy through none other than Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer – not a bad way to get a tip off.

But is he the right man for Australia? At his unveiling yesterday, the press wanted to know what system he will play, is he attacking or defensive, would he give the local league more attention than his predecessor?

Osieck answered all the questions well; his system will be flexible and based around the players at his disposal; there is no attacking or defensive, just fluid football; and he was hired by the FFA because of his experience working with players from lower level domestic competitions.

First impressions of the man? He’s not exactly charismatic but he did at least show a few flashes of humour, something Pim Verbeek seemed to have had surgically removed. He was honest about his lack of knowledge of Australian players and the A-League but ambitious enough to say Australia should be consistently qualifying for the World Cup.

What does he have to do to succeed? Firstly, make the most of the local game and keep fans onside. Verbeek’s scathing criticism cost him all the goodwill his results might have won. Secondly, no one wants more of the same reactive football; Australia is a proactive nation and expects their athletes to take the game on. Thirdly, manage a team in transition, as the so-called “golden generation” moves on.

January’s Asian Cup will show us just what we’ve taken on. Craig Foster waits with a sharpened quill; fans might not know Osieck but they’re willing to give him a fair go.  After all, can it be much worse than what we’ve had to watch for the past three years?

Most commented


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    • Jack Cannon says:

      02:42pm | 12/08/10

      I, like most people, don’t know much about this bloke and by the sounds of it he’s going to be streets ahead of Verbeek (not a hard task, but still a move in the right direction), but my question is; why are Internationals getting the coaching gig so often? 8 out of the last 10 Aussie coaches have been foreigners (with only Farina a non-care taker) and surely after our mundane tactical efforts in Germany we need someone who may be short on tactical knowledge but is intimate with the aussie ethos of “Go out and have a crack”. We lost 4-0 to Germany, didn’t fire a shot for 90 minutes and ended our campaign before it even started. I’d much rather see a more Ghanaian approach of bold, attacking play than the robotic drivel I froze (literally and figuratively) watching out at Birrung Marr.

    • S says:

      09:05am | 13/08/10

      Vidmar is our new assistant coach. Give him time - I suspect he may be the head coach in a few years.

    • Ben G says:

      02:52pm | 12/08/10

      He sounds great. Unless we can get Aussie Guus back, he’ll have to do.

    • Macca says:

      03:01pm | 12/08/10

      The thing that sticks out for me most is his Gold Cup Success with Canada. Hardly a footballing powerhouse and to win a regional Trophy against the US and Mexico is probably the highlight of Canadian Football.

      It’ll be a real challenge for him to get better results than Verbeek, and he won’t have the experience that Verbeek got to work with, but lets wait until after the Asian Cup to judge him.

    • Ant Sharwood says:

      03:12pm | 12/08/10

      Dave, I note the papers are calling the socceroos “Holger’s heroes” today. Just wait till the first loss. It’ll be “Holger the Horrible”. You read it here first.

    • Macca says:

      03:42pm | 12/08/10

      Where’s your piece, Sharwood?

    • The Badger says:

      03:17pm | 12/08/10

      Forget the scrabble guy,
      let’s get Maradona.
      at least it will be colourful

    • Macca says:

      03:41pm | 12/08/10

      Maradona sounds exotic, but the bloke is a complete fruitloop. All the talent in the world, but no football brain. The gimic would wear off quick when we lose to Taiwan.

      Plus Football has enough trouble becoming competitive in this country without all the kissing

    • The Badger says:

      05:38pm | 12/08/10

      unbelievable macca
      I agree with you on 2 things in a week.

      I believe with a little work we can find some common ground to move forward on.

    • Nicole says:

      07:33pm | 12/08/10

      Oh Badger, you did so well until the ‘move forward’.

    • Pete says:

      03:19pm | 12/08/10

      Was impressed with the press conference yesterday.  He seems to care about the state of the game in Australia and hopefully backs his words.

    • Tarzan says:

      04:31pm | 12/08/10

      I have heard it on good authority that the Australian Navy have been told not to disclose the arrival of any asylum seeker boats since 8 days ago.
      I have been told we have had a record number of arrivals but nothing has been reported.

    • vincent says:

      04:58pm | 12/08/10

      Oh good one tarzan

    • Nicole says:

      05:34pm | 12/08/10

      Er Tarzan, precisely what do asylum seekers and boat arrivals have to do with soccer? Please, enlighten me…....

    • The Badger says:

      05:39pm | 12/08/10

      excellent reporting tarzan..

      Did you hear it through the grapevine?

    • Tarzan says:

      06:49pm | 12/08/10

      we call it scuttlebutt.

    • Tarzan says:

      06:52pm | 12/08/10

      Breaking news knows no boundaries. Soccer, NBN, it makes no difference, when it breaks The Punch is the first to know.
      This will be big over the next few days.

    • Nicole says:

      07:58pm | 12/08/10

      @Tarzan, are they playing soccer on the boats? Is whatshisface
      (the new coach) coaching them? I dunno, I’m still confused.

    • stephen says:

      08:25pm | 12/08/10

      Mate you don’t know any ‘good authority’.
      Back to the soccer.
      (yer know, kick a-duh-ball round and round and round.)

    • Just curious says:

      09:13am | 13/08/10

      Can any of these asylum seekers play? We might be hitting a new golden era??

    • TheRealDave says:

      01:56pm | 13/08/10

      I’m betting you saw it on an episode of Sea Patrol…

    • Rowdy says:

      04:32pm | 12/08/10

      Osieck was chosen because of his experience with youth players (and let’s face it, our Kewells and Cahills aren’t getting younger, and next year we will have a young team at the Asian Cup), his experience at playing in Asia and against Asian teams, as well as experience on the biggest stage , the World Cup. If you saw Frank Lowy making the announcement, these were the main reasons he was chosen. Frank also said that Osieck will pave the way for Australia to have a home grown coach next time.

      FFA are trying to plan ahead for the Asian Cup next year, and the next World Cup in 2014. We will get our Aussie coach.

    • Tarzan says:

      07:36pm | 12/08/10

      The information below was reported on the AAP July 29, 2010 8:47AM /
      “Intelligence reports show up to 12 vessels, carrying possibly up to 800 people, are on the way.
      The warning comes as morale among patrol boat crews dives, with many sailors now voicing support for the Opposition policy of turning boats around and reinstating temporary protection visas.”

    • Wylie says:

      09:39pm | 12/08/10

      “morale among patrol boat crews dives”

      What a load of crap. I think earlier when you referred to ‘scuttlebut’ you actually meant ‘stuff I just make up”.

    • Dave says:

      09:12am | 13/08/10

      I thought this was some hilariously off the wall comment on FFA hiring foreign coaches. I know Australian soccer struggles for cash sometimes but I don’t think Osieck will be arriving on a boat from Indonesia.

    • stephen says:

      08:29pm | 12/08/10

      Soccer schnocker.
      I had a german girlfriend a few years back and she though main-course on the Oz table was oranges and peanuts.
      They don’t know a thing about us.

      PS frank needs a spank.

    • S.L says:

      12:38pm | 13/08/10

      Maradona would have been great for publicity but that’s all. I could have coached the Argentinians to the quater finals! Look at the players he had at his disposal. The AFL and League mad press in Oz would have finally taken notice of the round ball game though and may have attracted some major sponsors away from rival sports. Holgers background in getting the most out of limited resources just might be the key. Also I’m sure Vidmar is getting blooded for the top job in the future on the back of his success in Asia with Adelaide Untied.

    • Rob Moss says:

      02:22pm | 13/08/10

      For $2.5 million p.a, it’s a terrible appointment.

      This bloke isn’t worth 20% of that figure given his record.

      Lowy is going to look very stupid if Holger’s best mate, the well-known Franz Beckenbauer, can’t deliver him a few 2022 World Cup votes.


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