Right about now the inaugural coach of Macarthur FC Bulls, Ante Milicic, would be in Tokyo in charge of the Australian women’s soccer team, the Matildas.
But Covid-19 has changed everything, including the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games for a year.
If there was no pandemic though, it would have meant a clunky start to Milicic’s stint at the Bulls because also right about now would have seen the start of the preseason for the 2020-21 A-League season.
Australia’s premier soccer competition normally starts in the first few days of October.
It would have meant that Milicic would not have been available for preseason training.
He had told the South West Voice on a couple of occasions that he was confident his assistants would have done a great job while he was shooting for gold with our mighty Matildas in Japan.
But I always got the sense that while the Matildas are important so was the very first preseason training of the Macarthur Bulls, especially for symbolic reasons.
Well, thanks to Covid-19 Milicic will now be in charge of the Bulls from their very first training season ahead of their debut in the A-League later this year.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has just announced that Milicic has stepped down from the role of head coach of the Matildas, and will honour his three year contract with Macarthur FC.
He was appointed coach of the Matildas in February 2019, and over the past 18 months Milicic oversaw Australia’s successful qualification for the women’s football tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and helped Australia reach the round of 16 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France last year.
Ante Milicic signed on to become the inaugural head coach of Macarthur FC in May 2019 prior to last year’s Women’s World Cup.
“I have enjoyed the past 18 months with the Matildas immensely and, in an ideal world, we would have been in Japan right now just days away from the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” Milicic said.
“Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic and the rescheduling of the Games has created the unenviable situation where people will assess whether I have chosen one team over another.”
“Truth be told, I have simply chosen to honour the commitment I made to Macarthur over a year ago, and hope that the Matildas’ players, staff, and fans, many of whom I have grown close with, will accept that.
“Coaching the Matildas has been a highlight of my career – they are a great team made up of fantastic players and people, and they all have so much to look forward to and work towards.
“I will be following their progress individually and as a team over the next few years with interest, and look forward to watching them in Tokyo, at the Women’s Asian Cup in India in 2022, and at the FIFA Women’s World Cup here in Australia in 2023,” he said.
But the news gets even better for Macarthur FC and their fans: The FFA have announced that Matildas’ assistant coach Ivan Jolic and technical analyst Kate Cohen are also departing to join the Bulls coaching staff under Ante Milicic.