The extraordinary life and career of former Socceroos and National Soccer League (NSL) Head Coach Rale Rasic OAM was celebrated yesterday afternoon throughout a special live stream shared across multiple football platforms.
The stream – taken live by Football Federation Australia (FFA), Socceroos, numerous Member Federations, and Western Sydney Wanderers FC on Facebook – has since accumulated nearly 50,000 views.
Organised by long-serving Australian football media contributor Harry Michaels OAM, the broadcast reflected on Rasic’s influence in and on the game at both national and local levels, and was hosted by respected football journalist and commentator, Andy Paschalidis.
Paschalidis was joined by a variety of guests including former Socceroos Alex Tobin, Adrian Alston, Max Tolson, Jim Fraser, and of course, Australia’s first ever FIFA World Cup coach, Rasic.
Michaels recently wrote to Football Federation Australia Chairman Chris Nikou and CEO James Johnson about the initiative, noting that he was inspired to put together a tribute for Rasic after witnessing a reflective piece highlighting the contribution of the 1974 Socceroos to Australia’s football history.
“The recent video the FFA media team delivered showcasing the contribution of the 1974 Socceroos team and its coach Rale Rasic triggered a somewhat emotional reaction from me,” Michaels said.
“The historic 1974 World Cup team literally put football on the map into the broad mainstream in Australia.
“It was my desire to honour Rale’s contribution to the game at both national and local levels, and I believe that this was a great opportunity to salute an iconic member of the football family and at the same time provide football fans around the world another positive, feel good story about Australian football.
“I would like to acknowledge Stefan Kamasz who worked so tirelessly to help organise this event,” he said.
FFA Chief Executive Officer James Johnson applauded the initiative and said that it was an example of how the recently launched ‘XI Principles for the future of Australian football’ could be brought to life.
“This is a great example of football people working together to celebrate great moments and contributors to our game’s history,” Johnson said.
“I applaud Harry Michaels and everyone involved with the project, which ran for two hours and offered a variety of people involved with Australian football’s rich history the chance to share their stories about Rale’s immense contribution to the game.
“The acknowledgement of Australia’s football history is an important feature in the ‘XI Principles for the future of Australian Football’ discussion paper released last week, so it is timely that we, along with numerous Member Federations and the Wanderers, had the chance to support this initiative.
“Rale and many others fought hard for recognition of the game in an era in which it was not accepted in the mainstream Australian sporting landscape,” he said.
Rasic was the Head Coach of the Socceroos between 1970 and 1974. Throughout that period he coached the Socceroos in 33 ‘A’ international matches, with Australia winning 16 games, drawing 10, and losing just seven.
Rasic was also a prominent figure throughout the NSL era, coaching clubs such as Marconi Stallions, Adelaide City, South Melbourne FC, APIA Leichhardt, and Canberra Cosmos.
Rasic was an inaugural inductee of the FFA Hall of Fame, and is also a Member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
‘Rale Rasic: A Celebration’ can be replayed here.