Vale Manfred Schaefer, cap #198

Vale Manfred Schaefer, cap #198

Another 1974 legend has left us with the passing of Manfred Schaefer, aged 80.

Here is an extract from Andrew Howe's Encyclopedia of Socceroos Centenary Edition 1922 to 2022 on Manfred Schaefer.

* * *

Blacktown junior Manfred Schaefer moved from Germany to Australia aged 11. After three years in the Blacktown senior team (1960–1963) he joined Budapest (later St George) where ‘Iron Man’ Schaefer was to spend the rest of his playing days.

From 1967 to 1974, he was an integral part of the national team. He initially played for Australia in the 1967 Vietnam Friendly Nations Tournament, where he took part in all five games including the final (W3-2 v South Korea).

He played in every minute of every game of Australia’s unsuccessful 1970 World Cup qualifying campaign, taking in a tough four-match group stage round robin series against South Korea and Japan in South Korea, a three-match playoff against Rhodesia in Mozambique, and a home and away final playoff against Israel (L1-2 on aggregate). In late 1970 he played 14 times in Australia’s extensive world tour where opponents included Iran (W2-1), Israel (W1-0) and Greece (W3-1).

After another 10 national team games in 1972 and a three-match home series against Bulgaria in early 1973, he formed a crucial part of Australia’s 1974 World Cup campaign which ended successfully with a 1-0 win over South Korea in Hong Kong. He played in all three matches in the 1974 World Cup, against East Germany (L0-2), West Germany (L0-3) – where he marked Gerd Muller – and Chile (D0-0).

At club level he won premiership honours in 1972, and was on grand fi nal-winning sides three times (1967, 1971, 1974). He was NSW player of the year in 1972, and played his last game in the St George starting XI in the 1974 grand final, a 4-2 win over Hakoah – alongside another famous retiring player Johnny Warren.

He commenced his coaching career at St George in 1975 when he again witnessed his side win a grand fi nal (W1-0 v APIA Leichhardt), in 1975.
His fi rst grade coaching career spanned 30 years and included 332 national league games as head coach at St George, Sydney Olympic, Brunswick, APIA Leichhardt, Sydney United, Marconi and West Adelaide. In 1999 he was inducted into the fi rst FFA Hall of Fame intake.

Photo: Manfred Schaefer (right) with Les Scheinflug, 1965. Photo via Fair Play Collection. 

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