Frank Farina

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Not to be confused with Frank Farian.
For the Pennsylvania politician, see Frank Farina (politician).
Frank Farina
Frank Farina cropped.jpg
Personal information
Full name Frank Farina
Date of birth (1964-09-05) 5 September 1964 (age 49)
Place of birth Darwin, Australia
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position Striker
Youth career
1982–1985 AIS
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1983–1984 Canberra City 41 (15)
1985–1986 Sydney City 43 (21)
1987–1988 Marconi Stallions 47 (33)
1988–1991 Club Brugge 75 (43)
1991–1992 Bari 8 (0)
1992 Notts County (loan) 3 (0)
1992–1994 Strasbourg 47 (14)
1994–1995 Lille 27 (6)
1995–1998 Brisbane Strikers 63 (33)
1998–1999 Marconi Stallions 2 (0)
Total 336 (145)
National team
1982–1983 Australia U-20 8 (3)
1984 Australia U-23 5 (1)
1984–1995 Australia 67 (14)
Teams managed
1996–1998 Brisbane Strikers
1998–1999 Marconi Stallions
1998–2005 Australia
2006–2009 Brisbane Roar
2011–2013 Papua New Guinea
2012–2014 Sydney FC
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Frank Farina OAM (born 5 September 1964 in Darwin, Northern Territory) is a former Australian football (soccer) player and recently head coach of A-League club Sydney FC.

His playing career spanned Australia, Belgium, France, Italy and England, and was a major player for the Australian National Team in the late 1980s and 1990s, as well as managing the national team in the early 2000s.

Club career[edit]

Farina spent part of his childhood in Papua New Guinea and grew up in Cairns, north Queensland and went to school at St Augustine's College. He won a prestigious position and scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in 1982 and played in the National Soccer League for the Canberra Arrows the following year.

National Soccer League[edit]

Farina's early playing career was spent in Australia, playing the National Soccer League. He played for the Canberra Arrows, Sydney City and Marconi-Fairfield. His early seasons were solid, scoring just under 10 goals a season for Canberra in the 1983 and 1984 season. He made his full international debut as a substitute in Australia's 2–3 loss in China in 1984. Farina moved to Sydney City in 1985, and that season City made the 1985 NSL Grand Final, losing 2–0 over 2 legs to Brunswick, as well as winning the 1986 National Cup.

Farina then moved to Marconi Fairfield for 1987 and 1988, where his form and ability flourished, scoring 16 and 17 goals respectively. This form led to him cementing a position in the Australian National Team, won him the 1987 NSL Player of the Year, the 1988 NSL Golden Boot and finally the 1988 Oceania Player of the Year awards as well as attracting overseas interest.

Europe[edit]

This interest led to him leaving Australia, for Belgium, and Club Brugge in the latter half of 1988. His finishing ability was well regarded, and he played over 70 games for Brugge, scoring 43 goals for the club, playing a major role in Club Brugge winning the Belgian First Division title in 1989/90 as well as the Belgian Cup in 1990/91 and Belgian Supercup in 1990 and 1991. Farina won the Belgian Golden Boot and Best Foreign Player awards in Club Brugge's successful 1989/90 season.

Unfortunately for Farina, his Belgian success was the high point of his European Playing Career, subsequently transferring to Bari in Italy in 1991/1992 (where he became the first Australian to play in Serie A), on loan at Notts County in England in 1991/1992 he played few games for either team, and transferred to RC Strasbourg in France in 1992/1993 where he had 2 solid seasons in French First Division, scoring 8 goals from 24 appearances in 1992/1993, then 6 goals from 23 appearances in 1993/1994. His final season playing in Europe was for Lille OSC who finished 14th in the French First Division, Farina scoring 6 Goals from 27 appearances.

Managerial career[edit]

Brisbane Strikers[edit]

Farina's return to Australia was with the Brisbane Strikers, for the 1995/1996 Season, scoring 20 goals from 20 matches, coming 2nd in the Golden Boot awards behind Damien Mori (31 Goals). Brisbane finished 5th in 1995/96. In 1996/1997, the Strikers needed a new Coach, and Farina stepped up to the position as the new Player/Coach. Farina led the Strikers to their first ever NSL title that year, as they defeated Sydney United 2–0 (with Farina scoring their first goal) in the Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium in front of 40,000 fans. He was named the Coach of the Year in 1997.

The Strikers could not back their title win however, crashing to 3rd last in the 1997/1998 season, with Farina seemingly succumbing to the pressure as he only managed a solitary goal in 18 appearances. He left the Strikers, and joined Marconi as a player/coach for a final season, with coaching being dominant, Farina only made 2 appearances for the Stallions, without scoring. However, he did coach the team to the Minor-Semi final place, eliminating the Northern Spirit, then losing 0–1 away to Perth Glory in the minor semi-final. He retired from playing that year.

Australia[edit]

Farina was appointed the Australian National Coach in 1999, chosen over many candidates including the then current caretaker coach Raul Blanco (who had replaced Terry Venables). His first match was a 0–2 Loss against a second string Brazilian team in Sydney, followed by a 2–2 draw with Brazil in Melbourne 3 days later.

The team under Farina won its first match in February 2000, with the majority of the European based players in the side, they demolished Hungary 3–0 in Budapest. In 2000

2000 OFC Nations Cup[edit]

Australia played in, and won, the Oceania Nations Cup, and subsequently qualified for the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup.

2001 FIFA Confederations Cup[edit]

Australia impressed at the 2001 Confederations Cup, qualifying as runners up from Group A on goal difference thanks largely to a memorable 1-0 win over reigning world champions France,[1] before eventually triumphing by the same scoreline in the 3rd place playoff vs Brazil [2]

2002 FIFA World Cup qualification[edit]

In 2001, Australia began its quest to qualify for the World Cup for a 2nd time, and Farina led the team to huge victories over Tonga (22–0), and a record breaking 31–0 win against American Samoa, Archie Thompson breaking the record for most goals in a single international with 13. Australia defeated Tonga 2–0 to win their group, then New Zealand 6–1 on Aggregate to Qualify for a World Cup Playoff against Uruguay.

In between these matches, Australia defeated Mexico and France during the Confederation Cup group stage, then defeated Brazil 1–0 win claim 3rd Place. These results strengthened belief that the team would make the World Cup Finals, but Australia failed again at the final World Cup hurdle, losing 3–1 on Aggregate (1–0 in Australia, 0–3 in Uruguay), which meant the 1974 Australian team remained the only team to qualify for the World Cup finals.

2002 OFC Nations Cup[edit]

2002 was a dour year, with only the Oceanian nations cup taking place, Australia sending a team composed of Australian based players to New Zealand. After comfortable early stages, Australia needed a Golden Goal to defeat Tonga in the semi-final, then losing 1–0 to New Zealand in the Final. The only game of note in 2003 was a 1–3 win against England in a friendly. In 2004, Australia progressed safely through the World Cup Oceania qualifiers.

2005 FIFA Confederations Cup[edit]

2005 was Farina's final year as coach, his failure to win a single game in the Confederations Cup signalling the end of his reign. Farina became the subject of intense media pressure, as his team were criticised for not showing tactical awareness and cohesion expected of players of their quality. Farina became agitated with SBS football correspondents, accusing them of running a witch-hunt against him.

In 2005, after an unconvincing 2–1 win over Iraq during a friendly, Farina was involved in an incident with former SBS reporter Andrew Orsatti in an informal post-match interview conducted in a corridor outside the dressing room. After a series of curt three/four worded answers to a series of questions shown on air, it was alleged by both parties that the other instigated a fracas. Eyewitnesses said that Farina grabbed Orsatti by the throat and tried to punch him. Orsatti later dropped assault charges against Farina. It was reported that Farina was upset at suggestions by the FFA that he attend anger management classes. Leading SBS commentator Les Murray said that Farina simply interpreted any criticism of his professional work as a coach to be a personal slight.[3]

Departure[edit]

Farina departed by 'mutual consent' on 29 June 2005 after his team lost all three games at the 2005 Confederations Cup. He cited a loss in confidence on the part of the FFA chairman Frank Lowy and CEO John O'Neill. He was replaced by the Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who led Australia to a successful 2006 World Cup qualification campaign, defeating Uruguay (penalties after a 1–1 aggregate).

After his departure from the national team Farina was employed as a newspaper columnist and often conducted interviews about Australian football on talkback radio stations. He was also a radio commentator for the World Cup qualification matches against Uruguay.

Queensland/Brisbane Roar FC[edit]

In 15 November 2006 Farina was appointed head coach of Brisbane Roar FC after the departure of Miron Bleiberg. He is credited for his support of young Australian footballers, having recruited Michael Zullo and Tahj Minniecon, who were catalysts for much of Queensland's success in the 2007–2008 season.

On 11 October 2009, Farina was suspended indefinitely by the club over drink-driving charges.[4] He was on his way to training when he was caught. Farina was officially sacked on 14 October 2009. He was given a three-month severance package as part of the sacking.[5]

Papua New Guinea[edit]

On 12 February 2011 it was confirmed that he had signed a contract with Papua New Guinea.[6]

Sydney FC[edit]

On 28 November 2012, Farina was appointed head coach of Sydney FC, replacing Ian Crook who resigned and caretaker coach Steve Corica.[7] Frank's spell in charge hasn't been without controversy, with his Sydney team noted for their inconsistency and criticised in some quarters for their unattractive style of play.[8] Ongoing dissatisfaction at his management (along with the performance of the boardroom) from Sydney's core supporter group 'The Cove' culminated in protests with banners and chanting calling for his dismissal at their home game against Adelaide United on the 8th of February 2014. This was followed by an unprecedented walkout in protest at the ejection of one of their core members for their involvement in the banner, contrary to media reports claiming it was pre-meditated,[9] and on 23rd of April 2014, Farina was sacked from Sydney FC.

Personal life[edit]

Farina is of Italian descent and is the uncle of footballer Zenon Caravella. In 1998 he published his autobiography My World Is Round: A Personal Playing History. In 2000 Farina was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for "service to soccer as a player and coach".[10] In October 2009 Farina was interviewed by Monica Attard on ABC Radio's Sunday Profile where he discussed the drink driving charge and his dismissal and their effect on his family.[11]

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Club Brugge
Brisbane Strikers
Marconi Fairfield
Sydney City
Personal Honours

Manager[edit]

Australia

With Brisbane Strikers:

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 28 March 2013.
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Brisbane Roar 16 November 2006 14 October 2009 60 25 17 18 41.67
Papua New Guinea 12 February 2011 15 November 2012 7 2 2 3 28.57
Sydney FC 28 November 2012 23 April 2014 46 19 8 19 41.30
Total 113 46 27 40 40.71

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Bobby Russell
Graham Arnold
NSL Player of the Year
1987–1988
Succeeded by
Zlatko Nastevski
Preceded by
Graham Arnold
NSL Golden Boot
1987–1988
Succeeded by
Zlatko Nastevski