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Frank Lowy discusses Socceroos future -

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Frank Lowy discusses Socceroos future

Broadcast: 21/06/2010

Reporter: Peter Wilkins

Football Federation Australia Chairman Frank Lowy has been a busy man in South Africa trying to
secure votes for Australia's bid to host the World Cup in 2022 while also trying to line up a new
coach.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: While New Zealand soccer fans are basking in the glory of a one-all draw
with Italy, the Socceroos's World Cup campaign in South Africa hangs by a thread. After its own
thrilling one-all draw with Ghana, the Australian team must beat Serbia on Thursday morning and
hope other results go their way. Football Federation chairman Frank Lowy has been a busy man in
South Africa trying to secure votes for Australia's bid to host the World Cup in 2022 while also
looking for a new coach. Peter Wilkins caught up with Frank Lowy just after Australia's draw with
Ghana.

PETER WILKINS, REPORTER: Let's just focus on the one moment: the Harry Kewell send off. Did you,
did you, ah ... ?

FRANK LOWY, FFA CHAIRMAN: Well I think my heart stopped.

PETER WILKINS: It was a desperate moment, wasn't it?

FRANK LOWY: It was a desperate moment, and 65 minutes to play with 10 men against a good Ghana team
is no mean feat.

PETER WILKINS: So what were you feeling then?

FRANK LOWY: A bit despondent, you know. A bit despondent. Of course, hoping against hope, which we
nearly, we nearly did the job. We had a couple of opportunities. You should have seen the boys
after the game in the dressing room, how elated they were and how upset they were at the same time,
because they felt they were given a rough ride.

PETER WILKINS: Another criticism levelled at the team is that it's a bit of a Dad's Army, that Pim
Verbeek hasn't really gone through a transitional period and so we have a plethora of senior
players on old legs?

FRANK LOWY: Well I think we'll need to have a transition now. There are some of the players that
probably won't be again at the next World Cup; there are some that we haven't seen play yet that
will be in the World Cup. Definitely we need to readjust the personnel of the team because some
people, you know, can't run as fast as they did five, six years ago.

PETER WILKINS: Now Pim Verbeek, he made an announcement a couple of months ago, two or three months
ago that he wasn't going to coach after the World Cup. Do you think that was ill-timed? Do you
think it was a poor judgment?

FRANK LOWY: Well, it's hard to say these things. You know, I mean, he made a commitment, he's a
very honest man. He signed an agreement and he didn't want to keep it a secret. And that's the rule
he plays by and we've got to respect too.

PETER WILKINS: So can I press you on the coach: will it come from one of the 31 other coaches here?

FRANK LOWY: Well, we have talked to a number of people.

PETER WILKINS: Is the replacement here?

FRANK LOWY: Well, maybe one of them, maybe two of them. I'm not sure. It's very hard to kind of
give you - tell you these things because I really don't know. The moment I know, you will know, and
there's a little while to go, I think, before we can do that. Of course, coaches don't particularly
want to talk while they're campaigning with their team because it's a distraction for them, and
that's right so, you know? So I think we've got to be a little bit more patient.

PETER WILKINS: But would it be fair to say that Australia's next coach will come from one of the 31
other coaches here?

FRANK LOWY: Most likely, most likely.

PETER WILKINS: The other question is can Australia afford one of the top range coaches?

FRANK LOWY: That's a very big question, you know. I mean, we have limited resources and we need to
be within our resources. We can't spend more than we have. Or, we can't spend more money - you have
to get more money in than going out. But, I think we'll be able to find a reasonable coach, a good
coach for a reasonable fee.

PETER WILKINS: Did the performance against Germany cruel any votes for 2022 in your mind?

FRANK LOWY: When the decision comes, it won't be in the minds, I don't believe, that you lost badly
to Germany.

PETER WILKINS: Will you declare us as certainties for 2022?

FRANK LOWY: How can I do that? You know, this is a contest, you know. For 2022, we have got our
friends in America, we've got Japan and Korea and Qatar. This is a five-horse race, you know? I
mean, how can you declare who's gonna be the winner?

PETER WILKINS: Well some are in favour and some are out of favour?

FRANK LOWY: Well some are but it's not my position to say who is not in favour and who is in
favour. All I want to do and all I know is that we want to win. We want to win badly.

PETER WILKINS: Overall, though, a mark out of 10: where would you give soccer, football in
Australia given where we've come since the World Cup last time?

FRANK LOWY: 6.5, seven out of 10. In Australia we need more spectators. We need the clubs to be run
more professionally. And I think these are the two major things. I think we also probably need a
bit more Australian content on the field. And I think the A leagues should use more of the
youngsters. And I'll talk about that later in the next two or three months that we have a plan,
what we need to do to achieve that. And I think supporters will come, spectators will come if the
game is attractive enough. Because those younger players, of course they are the future, so we need
to kind of bring them further forward than what we have done in the last few years.

PETER WILKINS: Because ultimately you're still competing against Australian football, rugby union
and rugby league.

FRANK LOWY: That's exactly right. That's exactly right. Without a successful A league, there's no
successful football in Australia.

PETER WILKINS: Good luck for the Serbia game. How's your confidence?

FRANK LOWY: Well I think we'll do well.

PETER WILKINS: Frank Lowy, thanks for talking to us and good luck.

FRANK LOWY: Pleasure.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Peter Wilkins with a candid Frank Lowy in South Africa.