Australia’s historic 2015 AFC Asian Cup victory has catapulted the Socceroos and Head Coach Ange Postecoglou to the National Team of the Year and Coach of the Year awards at the AFC Annual Awards 2015 Ceremony in New Delhi, India last night.
The Socceroos defeated Korea Republic 2-1 in extra time of a gripping AFC Asian Cup Final in January, capping off a captivating month of football that saw the Australian public not only stand united behind the Socceroos but also embrace countries and cultures from all over Asia.
The Socceroos have continued their stellar year with a string of victories that sees them on top of Group B in qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Socceroos have played 14 matches in 2015 with 10 wins, two draws and two losses.
Football Federation Australia (Member Association of the Year), Elise Kellond-Knight (AFC Women’s Player of the Year) and Massimo Luongo (AFC Asian International Player of the Year) were also nominated for awards at the ceremony, attended by Postecoglou, FFA Chairman Steven Lowy and FFA CEO David Gallop.
Postecoglou’s award was due reward for the way he has transformed the Socceroos in the last two years, taking them to victory in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup and the top of its World Cup Qualifying group while implementing a style and attitude that has captured the imagination of the Australian sporting public.
“I am truly honoured to accept the award as AFC Coach of the Year for 2015,” said Postecoglou after receiving his award in New Delhi. “As an Australian, coaching our National Team is a truly humbling experience and to be recognised for what we have achieved in the last 12 months is a nice recognition.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the Socceroos players for their performances in 2015 and the staff, who are instrumental in providing a world class environment off the field to ensure we continue to look ahead and improve as a team and footballing nation.
“Australian football is taking significant steps forward and our coaches are a huge part of that. Coaching has played a significant role in the evolution of the way we play football and this award is also a positive reinforcement of the ability of Australian coaches to compete at the highest level.
“I’d also like to thank my family Georgia, James and Max as they have supported me every step of my coaching journey.”
The Socceroos’ acknowledgement as AFC National team of the Year was also met with pride by Captain Mile Jedinak.
“This is tremendous recognition of the hard work we have all put in to take Australian Football to the next level on the international stage,” Jedinak said. “Everyone involved, from players, coaches, team staff, the FFA and our families deserve praise for playing their part in the success of the Socceroos in 2015.
“Winning the Asian Cup on home soil in front of a packed stadium, our families and the Aussie fans in their green and gold was a special night and the highlight of the last 12 months.
“The Boss (Postecoglou) talks to us a lot about the journey we are on and this award shows that we are heading in the right direction but we need to continue to evolve and improve as we head into more World Cup Qualifiers in 2016.”
With Jedinak in London, the Socceroos award was accepted by new FFA Chairman Steven Lowy, who applauded the platform that has been put in place around the National Team.
“Congratulations to the Socceroos and Ange Postecoglou on receiving these prestigious awards,” said FFA Chairman Steven Lowy.
“This recognition by the AFC underlines the exciting times we can look forward to with some fantastic work put in place over the last two years by the coaches, management, staff and players."
FFA CEO David Gallop paid tribute to the Socceroos and Postecoglou: “These two awards are a tremendous endorsement of the success of the Socceroos but also the growth of Australia as a football nation,” Gallop said.
“For the Socceroos to claim the award for the AFC National team of the Year with an Australian coach as dedicated and passionate as Ange Postecoglou shows how far we have come as a nation and the foundations we are laying for the continued growth of Australian Football.
“We are having success on the international stage with a coach who believes in Australian football and like many of our Socceroos, flourished in the Hyundai A-League.
“I’d also like to congratulate the players, coaches and Socceroos staff for the award, which is well deserved after the efforts they have put in throughout 2015.”
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