After making his 108th and final appearance for the Caltex Socceroos in Australia’s 3-0 win over Lebanon on Tuesday evening, Australian football great Tim Cahill spent over two hours signing autographs and posing for photos with fans at ANZ Stadium.
A few minutes before midnight, Cahill completed his lap around the venue where so many of famous moments throughout his international career have played out.
Considering the game finished at around 10pm AEDT, it’s an incredible effort from one of the legends of Australian sport.
Cahill reflected on his final match and what it meant to have so much support from so many fans.
“Mate, it’s unbelievable. I thought they were going to turn the lights off, there’d be no one here - massive compliment, I’m so grateful,” said Cahill.
“But this is the reason why you give so much on the pitch. If you give the same off the pitch, then I can have relationships with these fans forever because they’ve done so much for me.”
Having done so much for the Caltex Socceroos, the 38-year-old said there will always be a special place in his heart for the team.
“It’ll [mean] everything,” said Cahill. “’l’ll aways be a mentor or somebody who looks over the team, even the A-League. I’ll be there to help everyone.
“[My plans now are to] just watch and enjoy football now.
“I’m going to miss them so much, but I’ll always be with them so I wish them all the very best.” - Tim Cahill
Just like we were all big fans of Timmy, it seems Cahill himself will be the Caltex Socceroos’ biggest fan.
Cahill urged fans to get together and support the game - a game that has given him so much, and received in return.
“We have to be confident, we have to be really positive,” said Cahill. “We have to get behind our team because we’re going to defend a massive trophy, and teams around the world are getting better.
“But I’ve got faith in Arnie and the boys, and like I said, I’m here to support them.
“You see the support tonight, the support in Brisbane, it’s immaculate. Socceroos, Matildas, the A-League - it’s time to get together and really unite for the game.
Cahill makes donation to John Moriarty Football
In case his goals and appearances over the past 15 years weren’t enough, Cahill proved once more why he’s a legend on and off the field, presenting John Moriarty Football with a $50,000 cheque on behalf of the Caltex Socceroos and Westfield Matildas.
JMF is an organisation based in the Northern Territory which engages Indigenous Australians through football, and provides scholarships to players.
The funds will be used to employ local coaches, and provide training and educational opportunities for young Indigenous Australians.
JMF Founder, John Moriarty, who is the first Indigenous Australian to represent the Caltex Socceroos, was grateful for Cahill’s donation.
"This wonderful donation from the Socceroos and Matildas is a remarkable gesture of goodwill and inclusivity,” said Moriarty. “It underlines the leadership our national women’s and men’s teams are showing in relation to Indigenous opportunity through football.
“Our whole Moriarty Foundation team thanks them and the PFA for their tremendous support.
“Many of our children in remote Northern Territory and on scholarship in Sydney will benefit.
“We also wish Tim Cahill and his family all the very best for the future, acknowledge his phenomenal contribution to the sport, and thank him warmly for his personal championing of John Moriarty Football.”
The players’ donation is just another way our FFA, the Caltex Socceroos and Westfield Matildas have supported JMF.
Just recently, the FFA and JMF secured a three-year partnership with the Commonwealth Government to expand JMF’s reach, including 12 new centres across New South Wales and Queensland.
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