Dutch Legend Appointed To Socceroos Coachin

Football Federation Australia strengthened its coaching staff today by appointing Johan Neeskens to the role of Assistant Coach of the Socceroos.

Football Federation Australia strengthened its coaching staff today by appointing Johan Neeskens to the role of Assistant Coach of the Socceroos.

Neeskens (pictured right) will provide a key support role to Head Coach Guus Hiddink and become a valuable member of the technical staff alongside Graham Arnold, Ron Smith, Tony Franken and Anthony Crea.

Born in the Netherlands, Neeskens' first role will be to support Arnold in the first Asian Cup qualifier in February where Hiddink will be unavailable to attend.  Arnold will take charge of the team in consultation with Hiddink with Neeskens slotting in as Arnold's assistant.

When Hiddink is present in the lead up to and during the World Cup, Neeskens will join Arnold as Hiddink's assistants.

FFA CEO Mr John O'Neill said he was pleased to have someone with such a distinguished career in football joining the organisation.

"We are delighted to have secured the services of another person who can add significant value to our technical area," said Mr O'Neill.

"Johan has had a distinguished career as a player and coach and has proven to have had a very successful partnership when working with Guus Hiddink."

"We said we would leave no stone unturned to get to Germany and now we are applying the same philosophy towards our tournament preparations."

As a player Neeskens had a remarkable career winning numerous honours with firstly, Ajax Amsterdam and then Spanish giants Barcelona.

"I'm looking forward to realizing the best possible results with the team of Australia, along with Guus Hiddink, Graham Arnold and all the staff members during the World Championship in Germany," said Mr Neeskens.

Twice Neeskens came close to a FIFA World Cup winners medal being an integral part of the famous Dutch team that narrowly lost to Germany in the 1974 final, and then against Argentina in extra time four years later.

His second minute penalty in the 1974 decider is still a record for the fastest goal in a FIFA World Cup Final.

Three-time European Cup winner with Ajax in the early 1970's Neeskens then had a distinguished five-year stint at Barcelona winning the Spanish Cup and European Cup Winners Cup amongst other honours.

He completed his club career at US glamour club New York Cosmos.

Neeskens commenced as assistant coach with the Dutch national team under Hiddink in 1996 in a partnership which culminated in the team reaching the 1998 FIFA World Cup semi final where they lost to Brazil on penalties.

Neeskens remained in the role under new coach Frank Rijkaard with The Netherlands again semi finalists two years later at Euro 2000.  He also served as Head Coach of the National Under 18 team which Qualified for the European Championships.

Earlier this year Neeskens concluded a five-year stint as Head Coach at Dutch 1st Division club NEC Nijmegen having achieved a first ever UEFA Cup qualification for the club in 2003.