DAVID MITCHELL, who scored the winning goal for Selangor in the 1996
Malaysia Cup final, is tipped to be the next Australian national coach.
Roy Hodgson was expected to take over from caretaker coach Raul Blanco
but the Englishman has decided to handle Italy's Inter Milan.
Hodgson, who coached Inter from 1995-97, is the club's fourth coach of a
He became available after his English Premiership side Blackburn Rovers
fell to the bottom of the table last November.
Hodgson's name was also linked with Singapore, who were keen to have him
in their vision to reach the 2010 World Cup finals.
Now that Hodgson's gone to Inter, Singapore are said to be interested in
Terry Venables as Director of Football/Goal 2010.
Blanco has been handling the Australian team on an interim basis since
the departure of Venables last year after failing to steer them to the
World Cup in France.
Australia were edged out by Iran in the play-off for the last Asian
Mitchell, since returning to Australia from his stint in Malaysia,
played with Sydney Olympics for a short while before becoming coach-player
of Sydney United two years ago.
He has earned the tag of a miracle worker for transforming the bankrupt
and hopeless club into champions.
He lost nine first team players to European clubs in his first season
but managed to rebuild the team wihtout going into the transfer market.
Sydney United finished a creditable fourth in the National League.
Among those who played for him last season were Abbas Saad and Joe
Calleta who plied their trade in Malaysia.
Abbas is out with an injury this season while Calleta is still with the
Mitchell lost another eight players this season but rebuilt the team and
steered them to the League championship on Wednesday.
Sydney United beat Adelaide Sharks 3-1 to pip South Melbourne to the
title by just one point - 58-57 - after 28 matches.
But the League title is viewed as a minor achievement in Australia and
it is the Ericsson Cup final Series which is the big one.
The top six League finishers play in the Series.
Mitchell is also in the running for the Australian Coach of the Year
Mitchell confirmed in Sydney on Wednesday he is in the running for the
"And of course I am interested in the job," said Mitchell. "It is the
national job we are talking about and I am honoured to be linked with it."
Mitchell sees his chances improving with Hodgson going to Inter Milan.
"I must admit Hodgson was the front-runner. But with him taking up the
job at Inter Milan, I recknon I have a better chance."
And ironically, Mitchell will only be going for his coaching badge later
"It is not about coaching badges. It is about management and player
management. Of course, my years of playing under various coaches in
different countries and with and against some of the top players in the
world, have taught me a great deal," he said.
Since Mitchell rose to prominence as a 19-year-old in the Fifa World
Youth Cup in Australia, he has gone on to play with Glasgow Rangers, the
place he was born on June 13, 1962 before migrating to Adelaide at the age
After two years, he ventured to West Germany where he played for
Eintracht Frankfurt before moving to Holland's Feyernood for two years.
It was England's Bobby Campbell who spotted him when he was in Holland
and offered him a place with Chelsea.
It was then to Swindon Town and Millwall before moving to Selangor.
Mitchell said coaching has been a big challenge but he is enjoying it.
Mitchell, who has 36 international caps and scored 16 goals for the
Socceroos, said should he fail to get the national coaching job, he will
take up one of the several other offers from Australian National League
Will he consider returning to Malaysia as a coach?
"Why not. I loved Malaysia and have fond memories. It will be great to
come back as a coach.
"But for now, I would like to look at things close to home first," said