It is obvious to everyone invested in the Matildas that the team has regressed since the controversial departure of Alen Stajcic in 2019. Citing…
Former Matildas legend and recent FA Hall of Fame inductee Heather Garriock has given the strongest indication yet the 1975 Australian XI who played in the first Asian Cup in Hong Kong will be recognised officially.
Garriock became a board member for FA last September and has been a supporter of the 1975 team, and has long advocated for them to be included on the Matildas roll of honour.
“For me and so many other ex-Matildas, it will be a moment of immense pride – and I’d like to see the history of our national team, the players that have paved the way, celebrated,” wrote Garriock in a column for Optus Sport.
“I would absolutely love to see every capped player including the 75ers be present prior to or during the tournament. There are over 300 Matildas who have played a part in what we’re about to see. I think history is key. Everybody has played their part to reach this moment. It would be so special. There are no words to describe it.”
The 1975 team came third in a tournament that is now recognised by the AFC and FIFA as the first Asian Cup. All five other countries from that tournament have capped their players. Strangely, Australian football has never given that honour to this team.
The modern Asian Cup has six solid bars on the trophy in recognition of the six countries that took part.
Garriock’s presence on the FA board should be welcome by football fans. She is a tireless advocate for growing football and connecting all the aspects of the game from grass roots through to the professional and national setups.
Garriock is currently CEO of Australian Taekwondo and has worked hard at evolving the organisation, particularly when it comes to governance and accountability.
Her cross-pollination between taekwondo and football will undoubtedly provide her with plenty of fresh ideas, something that football in Australia badly needs.
Garriock believes the legacy of the World Cup should be to bring Australians and indeed the world together, something that is a poignant message considering where the world is right now.
“We must get it right from both a government and communications point of view, while finding a way to tap into non-football people who are not necessarily already members of our community,” she wrote. “That will involve campaigning, education and understanding the magnitude of such an event.
“It is about inspiring the nation. That can happen in different forms; for me, I’d like to see non-footballing ambassadors to spread the message to the rest of Australia.
“At the same time, this is the moment to embrace inclusivity and show young people what they can aspire to, raise the profile of women’s football and bring it into the public sphere. Strides are already being made in this regard, with the launch of the ParaMatildas, a new NAIDOC program and Football Australia marching in the Mardi Gras for the first time this weekend to prove the game is truly for all.
“These are all things that are part of a legacy we want to leave behind to be able to say this is football, this is Australia, we are united. It is not just about the sport. It is a global message about how football can unite and bring people together. To me, that is the epitome of Australia.”