68 days to go: Manfred Schaefer's FIFA World Cup story

As part of our countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we profile every Australian player who's been to a World Cup.

Today we continue the countdown with Manfred Schaefer, one of Australia's defenders at the 1974 World Cup.

FIFA World Cup: Countdown for the Caltex Socceroos

Cap number:  198

World Cups played at: 1974

Position: Defender

Age at World Cup: 31

Clubs played for: Blacktown, St George

Best World Cup moment

Schaefer played in all three matches for the Socceroos at their first-ever World Cup in 1974 – played in his  native  Germany. 

He was a part of the side that drew 0-0 with Chile in their final fixture in West Germany, claiming the Socceroos’ first ever World Cup point. 

Career highlight

Born in Germany, Schaefer went on to play 49  ‘A’ internationals for the Socceroos between 1967-1974.

He has admitted previously that Playing in Australia’s first-ever World Cup campaign, in his ‘home’ country no  less, was the best moment of his career.  

He did also manage to win the 1972 State League title with  St George.  

Post-playing career

Schaefer moved into coaching post his playing days and enjoyed a long career as both a coach and an assistant.

He managed the likes of St George, Sydney Olympic,  Brunswick-Juventus, APIA Leichhardt, Sydney Croatia, Marconi, Adelaide Sharks and Parramatta Power between 1975-2004.

He was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame in 1999.

Did you know?

He was known as a tough and uncompromising defender and his reputation unwittingly helped him form a friendship with Brazilian legend Pele.

After clashing with the Brazilian in a friendly clash in 1972 in Australia, Schaefer and Pele developed a friendship.

In an interview with The World Game in February, Schaefer revealed Pele had called him ‘Mr Bastard’ during the match, a reference he took as a compliment. 

The pair even appeared on a World Cup program together in 2003. 

*Photographs from the Les Shorrock, Laurie Schwab and Anton Cermak collections are used with permission from Deakin University Library, Eileen Shorrock and Mrs Jana Cermak.