Rale Rasic returns as patron of the Joey's Mini World Cup.
Rale Rasic returns as patron of the Joey's Mini World Cup. Contributed

Socceroo royalty returns as patron for Joey's Mini World Cup

FOOTBALL: Former Socceroo and FIFA World Cup coach Rale Rasic (OAM) will return as patron for the second annual Fraser Coast Joeys Mini World Cup.

Mr Rasic has been involved in the week-long tournament since its inception in 2010. From a humble beginning of 16 teams, the cup has grown to a sizeable 70.

The cup offers players and coaches the highest rewards of any tournament in Australia, maybe even around the world, held at the prestigious, new grounds of Fraser Coast Sports and Recreation Precinct in Nikenbah.

As a coach, Mr Rasic lead Australia in 58 international matches from 1970 to 1974 and was the first coach to take Australia to the finals of the World Cup in West Germany in 1974.

Mr Rasic said he would never be in favour of any academy that was not focused on education, history and upbringing.

"This gives kids opportunity, true education and cultural exchange. What [founder] Heinrich Haussler has done to provide opportunities for Australian, country kids no man in this country has done."

Born in the former Yugoslavia in 1935, Rale Rasic was selected to play for the Yugoslavia Youth team at the age of 17. After coming to Australia, he joined Melbourne JUST in 1962, helping to win the State League championship and Dockerty Cup.

He represented Victoria nine times before retiring as a player in 1966. His coaching career blossomed with a Victorian State League championship and a national under-16 title.

Mr Rasic was appointed national coach in August 1970, starting a run of success for the Socceroo's that included a 12-match unbeaten streak in the 1972 world tour, an undefeated tour of Asia and a 2-2 draw with Pele's Santos.

He took the team through the 1974 rounds to line up matches against West and East Germany and Chile, culminating in Australia's first appearance in the World Cup Finals in Germany and earning a lot of respect for Australian Football.

Over the past 50 years Mr Rasic has visited some of the best institutes of sport the world has on offer. He was also involved in the formation of the Institute of Sport in Canberra.

He has visited almost every academy in Germany over the past 30 years and some of the best football academies in the world. He has devoted time and effort to find the ideal model and then adapted this accumulated knowledge in order to do it his own way.  

"Everything we have done for the past 10 years with the Joeys Mini World Cup has been beneficial. So many young players have been educated through football because that is the first principal; education.

"Learning about the world, I never put football first because education is the prime objective to everything we do. As a country that has won four World Cups, there must be a reason why Germany is a leading nation in football," Mr Rasic said.

The unique tournament offers an opportunity to the three best players throughout the week who will be chosen to travel to Germany on a fully paid coaching and playing football tour in June/July the following year, this is valued at $7600 per player.

Two players will be chosen from the combined U14s, U16s and U18s category, while the third will be selected from the open women's.

Twenty-four $1000 subsidies will be up for grabs in the male section and 16 $1000 in the female section for players to join the 2020 Joeys All Stars team to travel to Germany on a coaching and playing tour. 

"Our kids chosen to go on tour have desire and have physical quality. All we add is tactical and technical qualities. It's such a wonderful development policy based on learning and growing as an individual."

Five coaches will also be recognised and presented with a $1500 subsidy to also join the same tour.

"It is a bit laughable looking back now to the first clinic 10 years ago held in Inverell. I travelled from Sydney and landed at the small airport to just 16 teams. Now we are approaching a targeted 80 teams; it's beyond belief," Mr Rasic said.