Durakovic: Ange will thrive on tough World Cup draw

Mehmet Durakovic has thrown his support behind former South Melbourne teammate Ange Postecoglou as the Socceroos get ready to kick off their campaign in Brazil.

Mehmet Durakovic has thrown his support behind former South Melbourne teammate Ange Postecoglou as the Socceroos get ready to kick off their campaign in Brazil.

Durakovic, a Socceroo great who played 64 times for the national team, played alongside Postecoglou in the NSL and for Australia.

Now coaching Selangor in Malaysia following his departure from Melbourne Victory, the 48-year-old knows the Socceroo boss intimately.

Postecoglou has come in for criticism recently from the likes of ex-Socceroos Paul Wade, Mark Schwarzer and Robbie Slater, but Durakovic believes the former Brisbane Roar head coach is the man to take the Australian side forward.

“Absolutely,” Durakovic said.

“He is the one for the job. He deserves it. He’s wanted it for so long. He’s been around the national youth system, he’s had his ups and downs, like every coach has.

“He got another chance and he’s done really well in the A-League and thoroughly deserves the job with the Socceroos.

“It’s time to have a local coach at the top helm and he definitely deserves it. He’s got the runs on the board, players respect him and it’s great for local coaches.

“Now with the coaching structure back in Australia a lot of coaches are full-time professionals and it’s fantastic.

“A few coaches are going to Asia and so it’s getting better and better for the local coaches.

“I’ve known Ange for nearly 40 years. We’re good friends, we played together with the Socceroos and at South Melbourne. I wish him all the best.”

During his playing career Durakovic represented the Socceroos from 1990 to 2002. The defender won NSL titles with Brunswick Juventus and at South Melbourne, in a defence also containing Postecoglou.

Durakovic said his old teammate won’t be intimidated by the class of the opponents the Socceroos will face at the World Cup.

“Look let’s be honest we could not get a harder draw,” he said.

“But knowing Ange he will thrive on that. He’s experienced enough and he knows our players inside out.

“It will be a really, really great test for the players and for Ange. What a great way of going to the World Cup, playing against the best teams in the world. Hopefully they’ll do well.”