Graham Arnold will take an inexperienced Socceroos squad to face South Korea in next month’s friendly in Busan as preparations for 2022 World Cup qualifying ramp up.
Controversially sacked Matildas coach Alen Stajcic has found a temporary new job in Australian football, after the last-placed Central Coast Mariners appointed him caretaker coach for the rest of the A-League season.
With the Mariners languishing through one of the worst A-League seasons ever, coach Mike Mulvey was sacked following a horror 8-2 loss at home to Wellington – their 16th in 21 matches.
Central Coast have won just one match all season to sit last on the ladder by eight points.
With just six matches remaining for the season, Stajcic will be tasked with restoring some semblance of competitiveness to the embattled A-League franchise – with club sporting director Mike Phelan emphasising ‘stability and harmony’ in a press release.
“Alen is an experienced coach, he has experience at the highest level coaching his country and is held in high esteem for what he achieved on the international stage.
“What we need right now is a manager who can take the helm during a crucial period. We recognise the skills Alen has and the Club is confident that he will be able to draw on those skills for the advantage of the Mariners.
On whether Stajcic could potentially assume the full-time role, Phelan said they “will assess the situation” at season’s end.
Stajcic was the subject of headlines earlier this year, after he was sensationally dumped as Matildas coach following a ‘culture review’ that the FFA were reluctant to elaborate on.
Multiple Matildas players came out in public support of Stajcic following his axing.
At the time of his sacking, Stajcic had compiled an impressive record of 32-14-12 with the team, including appearances in the quarter-finals at the 2015 women’s World Cup and 2016 Olympics, as well as second-place finishes at the 2017 Asian Cup and 2018 Tournament of Nations.
He was named Coach of the Year at the 2017 AIS Sport Performance Awards, while also being nominated for the FIFA Coach of the Year award in 2018.
“I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners for providing me this opportunity,” Stajcic said in the press release.
“We’re well aware of the hard work ahead of us, but that starts now. I relish a challenge and can’t wait to get started,” he added.