Renee Rollason has backed interim Westfield Matildas coach Alen Stajcic to succeed at next year’s World Cup after he guided the Aussie women to Asian Cup success in Vietnam.
Renee Rollason has backed interim Westfield Matildas coach Alen Stajcic to succeed at next year-s World Cup after he guided the Aussie women to Asian Cup success in Vietnam.
The Australians have qualified for the Women-s World Cup 2015 in Canada after finishing second in their AFC Asian Cup group behind Japan.
The Westfield Matildas now face Korea Republic on Thursday night with a place in the final at stake.
And while defending their Asian Cup trophy is the number one priority right now, the Westfield Matilda and Sydney FC midfielder said Australia can continue their momentum on the global stage next year under the man known as “Staj”.
“I think we now have a higher chance of doing better in the World Cup, especially if Staj stays on board and with Kyah [Simon] coming back in,” Rollason told www.socceroos.com.au at the launch of FFA-s FFA Whole of Football Schools Strategy launch in Sydney on Tuesday.
“I-m probably a bit biased because I-ve had Staj since I was 14 but he-s probably the best one in my career and he does all the hard work and he knows what he-s talking about.
“For that reason, a lot of the Matildas are very comfortable with him. He-s very attacking.
“And they look a lot more relaxed and are willing to play that attacking brand of football that Staj wants.”
Stajcic has had limited preparation time after the parting of ways with Hesterine de Reus. But the Sydney FC coach has found a team structure and system that is clearly working with the players he-s picked for the Vietnam tournament.
“Considering all the dynamics around the change in coaching, he-s done really well to get the team to play the way he wants them to.
“They could definitely win it.”
Rollason was at the launch in her role as a development officer for Football NSW.
And with the FFA launching a strategy to boost football in the school sector, Rollason can see the benefits of having greater emphasis on youth development in that sector.
“I-m seeing a lot more girls get involved in school sport which is an added bonus.
“To have them involved at a young level gives them a chance to see how they may progress in the game and play for the Matildas.
“We play the game because we love it and to be around our mates. That needs to be shown to these younger girls, just to enjoy soccer with your mates,” she said.
“I was exactly like them, playing soccer in school before I moved up to Sydney from Bega when I was 14 years old.
“And playing for the Matildas and playing professionally in Denmark was something I could never have imagined.
“So if I never played at primary school level I probably would never have achieved that.”
**The Westfield Matildas will meet Korea Republic in the Semi Finals of the AFC Women-s Asian Cup on Thursday night at 11.45pm AEST. The match will be broadcast LIVE and exclusive on Fox Sports.