Wednesday, 21 August 2013 6:09 PM
The Hyundai A-League’s growth in recent years has been mirrored by an increase in the quality of Australian coaches that the competition is exposing to top level professional football.
Ange Postecoglou, Graham Arnold and Hyundai A-League Coach of the Year Tony Popovic epitomise the current strength of Australian-born coaches plying their trade on home soil.
Just as players aspire to reach the level of their heroes, so to do coaches aim to match and even better the achievements of their contemporaries.
Nine-time Socceroo representative Goran Lozanovski is hoping to follow in the esteemed footsteps of his former coach in Postecoglou as he continues to rise through the coaching ranks.
Lozanovski has spent time with Preston, Hume City and Bentleigh Greens in the Victorian State League and now is head coach at that competition’s league leaders in Northcote City.
“We are going tremendously well at the moment which has shocked a fair few people,” said Lozanovski.
“Our side is very young with an average age of 22 and a half years but we have brought in players that fit in well. Hopefully we are only a couple of rounds from securing the league title.”
Northcote City currently sit three points ahead of the Melbourne Knights at the top of the table and if they do take out league title it will have been an extremely successful first three seasons for Lozanovski at the club.
“We won the Mirabella Cup in 2011, made the semi-finals last year and now are looking to win the league.
“This club is a smaller family based club that only joined the Victorian Premier League in 2010 so we are definitely surprising a few people with how we have gone.”
With most State League football clubs not laying claim to a former Socceroo as their coach it appears that Northcote do have an edge over their rivals.
“I have brought some of my experiences from playing on the international scene to the club.
“You always have your own personal experiences when you were playing. How to play in certain situations and positioning of players are some of the scenarios that you can implement.
“I do however ensure that I continue to educate myself as a coach to ensure I am continually picking up things that I can pass on to the players.”
While his current focus remains on securing the league title with Northcote, Lozanovski’s ambitions are to one day replicate his feats on the pitch by climbing into the top tier of Australian football as a coach.
“I never thought when I started that I wanted to be a career coach but I now would love to coach in the A-League one day.
“It will be tough to get there as I currently work a nine to five and also coach and then I would also have to achieve all of the licenses.
“It is also obviously quite challenging to get a gig with only limited club in Australia though.”
Having played under the current Melbourne Victory coach and also kept an eye on local coaching talent, Lozanovski believes that the next Australian national coach is likely to be a native.
“I think that the next opportunity for an Australian coach is likely to be in the next World Cup phase.
“I spent three or four years under Ange when I was playing so I have seen just how far he has come as a coach.
“More and more Australian coaches are educating themselves overseas and bringing this knowledge back to Australia.
“It is great to see Australian coaches continuing to evolve to a stage where they might end up coaching the Socceroos or going over to Europe and have the opportunity to coach there.”
Northcote take on Bentleigh (3rd), Dandenong (8th), South Melbourne (5th) and Hume City (6th) on the run home while their closest rivals in the Melbourne Knights take on Dandenong, South Melbourne, Hume City and Oakleigh (9th).
Bentleigh host Lozanovski’s side this Friday at the Kingston Heath Soccer Complex with kickoff at 8:15pm.