Qantas Socceroo goalkeeper coach Tony Franken has shared his thoughts on star pupil Mark Schwarzer in the wake of the 39-year-old’s record breaking achievement against Lebanon.
Qantas Socceroo goalkeeper coach Tony Franken has shared his thoughts on star pupil Mark Schwarzer in the wake of the 39-year-old-s record breaking achievement against Lebanon.
In starting at the Saida Municipal Stadium, Schwarzer made his historic 100th ‘A- international appearance - becoming the first Australian international to reach such a milestone.
Franken, himself a decorated custodian with two Qantas Socceroo caps to his name, has been by Schwarzer-s side for much of his 19-year international career and enjoyed one of his proudest moments from the sidelines in Beirut this evening.
“I-d like to think that Mark-s not only an ambassador for football, but for sport in general,” said Franken.
“He-s very humble, he-s achieved massive amounts in his career, but he-s generally a good bloke.
“Mark, for me, will be remembered for making important saves at important times in Australia-s history in terms of the World Cup.
“Our qualification in 2006 and 2010, if we look back to 2006 and we know about John Aloisi-s penalty kick but the saves by Mark, it was a defining moment that got us to the 2006 World Cup,
“Then I look back at 2010 and the whole qualifying period through Asia, where, he had a record of number of clean sheets over that period and that was instrumental in us qualifying for 2010.”
Franken and Schwarzer first crossed paths as teammates - Schwarzer making his starting debut for the Qantas Socceroos against Canada at the Sydney Football Stadium, Franken deputising on the bench.
History will show that Schwarzer-s performance that day, highlighted by some now customary penalty shoot out heroics, would set the tone for an international career without peer in Australia.
“When I was ending my NSL career, Mark was starting,” Franken recalled .
“The way he approaches and his professionalism on and off the field has been a credit to him and that-s one of the major reasons why he-s still playing in his late 30s.
“You look at goalkeepers and the amount of work you do on the field, the amount of work that he does off the field in terms of gym and what he needs to do in terms of preparation.
“Also, towards the end of his career now, (it becomes) very, very important in terms of his diets and he-s probably got the body shape of a goalkeeper in his young thirties, rather than in his late thirties.”
The Qantas Socceroos resume their FIFA World Cup qualification campaign against Jordan in Amman, at 7pm on Tuesday, 11 September (2am AEST, Wednesday, 12 September).
The Qantas Socceroos return to Australia in 2013, for the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Oman at Sydney-s Stadium Australia at 7.30pm, Tuesday, 26 March, followed by Iraq, at 7.30pm on Tuesday, 18 June.
Tickets for both matches at Stadium Australia are on sale now through Ticketek or via phone, 132 849.