Tributes flowed for Frank Arok on Tuesday night following the death of the former Socceroos coach aged 88.
Arok coached the Socceroos in 48 matches from 1983 to 1989, and also guided the fortunes of South Melbourne, Gippsland Falcons and Sydney Olympic in the old National Soccer League.
His death, came eight days shy of his 89th birthday, was announced on the Socceroos official Twitter account on Tuesday night.
“We are deeply saddened by the news that former @Socceroos coach, Frank Arok, passed away today. Football Australia would like to extend its condolences to Frank’s family, friends and loved ones. His profound impact on Australian football will never be forgotten. Vale,” @Socceroos tweeted.
Of Hungarian descent. Arok was born in 1932 in the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
He moved to Australia in the 1960s, and coached St George Saints from 1969 to 1972.
Arok was appointed Socceroos coach in 1983, replacing Les Scheinflug.
He was in charge of the Australian team that reached the quarter-finals of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games football tournament.
However, the Socceroos twice failed to qualify for World Cups (1986 and 1990) during his coaching tenure.
Arok was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1990 for his services to Australian football.
Socceroos great and another former national coach Frank Farina tweeted: “Frank Arok. My first boss with the #Socceroos in 1984 when I was 19. My condolences to his family. #RIP ‘Chewie’.”.
Perth Glory, who employed Arok as their youth coach from 2001 to 2003, tweeted: “On behalf of everyone associated with Perth Glory, we would like to send our sincere condolences to the family and friends of our former youth coach and ex-@Socceroos Head Coach, Frank Arok AM who has passed away at the age of 88.
Former Socceroos winger Robbie Slater, who won an English Premier League title with Blackburn Rovers, described Arok as “the man that discovered and made me”.
“Thank you! A true legend! @Socceroos,” Slater tweeted.
Ex-Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer tweeted: “Very sad to hear about the passing of Frank Arok. Your knowledge, passion and dedication of the game was infectious. The 2 years I had the privilege to work with you @clubmarconi1958 were some of my most enjoyable times in football. R.I.P #aussielegend #soccerooslegend #NSL”.
Former Socceroos striker Scott Ollerenshaw tweeted: “RIP Frank Arok … my coach, my mentor … will always be extremely grateful for the opportunities you gave me … some great memories including the night we beat Argentina 4-1 … your pre match talk was so inspiring … rest well Frank.”