Monday, October 11, 2010

Australia. Even in the dark world of football’s dwarfs they were non-entity, representing the ‘6th continent’ – Austrolasia. This federation is still the very bottom of international football, the only one without secured spot at World Cup finals. Their winners have to play further qualifications, if wanting to reach the big stage. As far as 1974 World Cup is concerned, Australia had to play against the next weakest continent, Asia. Surprisingly, the Aussies won. Nobody knew anything about them – they were all amateurs without anybody playing in Europe. And leaping a bit ahead: nobody from their World Cup squad attracted any interest and consequently no Autsralian player went professional after the finals. Also, nobody knew the conflict ridden reality of Australian soocer: it was a pariah sport, ignored by mainstream Australia, favouring rugby, cricket, Australian football, tennis, and golf. It was a sport of the immigrants and divided sharply along nationalistic lines. The scene was politically driven – ‘old country’ politics, that is – and therefore explosive. So much so, the Australian federation had to ban the usage of ‘ethnic’ club names by the end of the 1970s. Since the Europeans knew nothing about Australian troubles, the team ment nothing more than exotic group of players, but it was the ‘right’ kind of the exotic: coming from distant, yet, white and industrial country. English speaking one, sophisticated, just rightly blending the familiar and the unknown. A great tourist place too, with special aura… well, the right blend of familiar and unknown again. Exotic, but ‘safe’… ‘our’ kind of place… The German media embraced the Australians fulheartedly and covered them a lot. They were a delight… and the suspect Yugoslavian names of some of the players were ignored in favour of two sweet discoveries: the trully ‘exotic’ indigenous player was just the ‘right’ mix – he was dark, but he was also the only one ‘darkie’. Harry Williams was the very first aboriginal player invited to the national team. Sounded just like reading Karl May’s ‘indian’ novel. The other player was even bigger fun: a German! Manfred Schafer, 31 years old defenseman, who eventually played a total of 72 games for Australia, was born in Konigsberg and went to Australia when he was 14. It was sweet… a German contribution to Aussie success, fit for interviews without bothersome translators, and also rubbing a bit the ideologic context, since his Konigsberg was (and is) the Soviet (now Russian) city of Kaliningrad. Escapee from GULAG land… one can even recycle the question of East Prussia… great for media! Hence, a meeting between Schafer and Gerd Muller was arrange and both players exchanged deep thoughts in front of hungry microphones and cameras. Schafer proudly confined to Muller that he got 5000 dollars from the Australian Football Federation as a World Cup player. Big money! The world superstar was not impressed – ‘I get that for a week’, he responded. Different realities notwithstanding, the Aussies were adorable just been Aussies. Apart from that, no name ment anything, beginning with their coach.
Head coach: Ralé Rašić
No. Pos. Player DoB/Age Caps Club
1 GK Jack Reilly 27 August 1945 (aged 28) 15 Hakoah Melbourne
2 DF Doug Utjesenovic 8 October 1946 (aged 27) 19 St George Sydney
3 DF Peter Wilson 15 September 1947 (aged 26) 34 Safeway United
4 DF Manfred Schäfer 12 February 1943 (aged 31) 49 St George Sydney
5 DF Colin Curran 21 August 1947 (aged 26) 13 Western Suburbs (NSW)
6 MF Ray Richards 18 May 1946 (aged 28) 31 Marconi Fairfield
7 MF Jimmy Rooney 10 December 1945 (aged 28) 20 APIA Leichhardt
8 MF Jimmy Mackay 19 December 1943 (aged 30) 30 Hakoah Sydney
9 MF Johnny Warren 17 May 1943 (aged 31) 44 St George Sydney
10 FW Gary Manuel 20 February 1950 (aged 24) 4 Pan Hellenic
11 FW Attila Abonyi 16 August 1946 (aged 27) 39 St George Sydney
12 FW Adrian Alston 6 February 1949 (aged 25) 34 Safeway United
13 MF Peter Ollerton 20 May 1951 (aged 23) 4 APIA Leichhardt
14 MF Max Tolson 18 July 1945 (aged 28) 16 Safeway United
15 DF Harry Williams 7 May 1951 (aged 23) 3 St George Sydney
16 DF Ivo Rudic 24 January 1942 (aged 32) 0 Pan Hellenic
17 DF Dave Harding 14 August 1946 (aged 27) 1 Pan Hellenic
18 MF Johnny Watkiss 28 March 1941 (aged 33) 23 Hakoah Sydney
19 MF Ernie Campbell 20 October 1949 (aged 24) 8 Marconi Fairfield
20 FW Branko Buljevic 6 September 1947 (aged 26) 19 Footscray JUST
21 GK Jim Milisavljevic 15 April 1951 (aged 23) 0 Footscray JUST
22 GK Allan Maher 21 July 1950 (aged 23) 0 Sutherland Shire
Bottom, left to right: Rooney, Mackay, Milisavljevic, Frazer, Curran, Warren.
Middle: Williams, Baartz, Utjesenovic, Abonyi, Richards, Schaefer.
Top: Rasic – coach, Buljevic, Watkiss, Wilson, Alstow, Tolsow, Campbell, Scheinglug – assistant coach.