Craig Foster is one of the most influential people in Australian football.
He is best known for his amazing rescue of Hakeem al-Araibi.
Hakeem, the young Australian defender who was wrongly imprisoned by Thai officials, was finally freed after two months of hard campaigning from all around Australia. But this all started with Craig Foster.
Foster, who is a sports analyst for SBS, found out about Hakeem’s imprisonment and straight away felt empathy towards the refugee. He began a case for fighting for him, forcing the FFA and government to put money and belief towards the great campaign.
In the end, it was a massive success, but Craig Foster went a step above. After Hakeem returned home, Foster sent a letter to the Australian government, pointing out that the government is straying from their values.
This letter, which was posted on the Sydney Morning Herald, outlines the fact that anyone could have been Hakeem and that in Australia, everyone is equal. He says that it was difficult for him to gather support due to the way refugees are treated in Australia and that indefinite detention isn’t the answer and is the easy way out.
Foster took the power he had from saving Hakeem and transferred it into something bigger – he used his power and generated it into goodwill.
He is a definite leader, and also has a deep knowledge of football. These are the type of qualities that football in Australia needs right now.
He has spoken plenty of times about the need for Australian football to mature and has proved that unlike the current FFA leadership, he is willing to not just plan a big task but then go ahead with it, as he did with Hakeem.
However, he is a very ambitious man with great awareness of what needs to be done to improve the A-League.
But unfortunately, that’s why he is very unlikely to run for an FFA position, especially after last time. He attempted to replace Steven Lowy when he stepped down, but despite being the people’s choice, didn’t get enough votes.
This shows how independent the FFA is. What if, for example, it was to be a government-like election, but every member of every team had the choice to vote? How much different could Australian football be now?
Craig Foster has said that should he take charge of the FFA, he would be much more open about every decision and put football first. I certainly trust Craig Foster enough to know that he is not saying this just to get in charge – he genuinely means it.
He has turned down the chance to be the country’s technical director twice, as he didn’t want to be “compliant in decisions being made that I don’t think are in the best interests of the game”, per SMH. It shows the effort he will put in to to expand Australian football.
Craig Foster is a great man who has a love for football and improving it, and would use his power – should he get it in the FFA – to not just improve football, but the whole country.
He would set the standard for football federations in other countries and can take Australian football to the next level on and off the field.
But how do we get Craig Foster in charge of the FFA?