‘Your passion was infectious’: Former Socceroos coach Arok dies aged 88

Former Socceroos coach Frank Arok has died eight days short of his 89th birthday.

Born in the former Yugoslavia in 1932, Arok played with FK Jedinstvo in his homeland before moving into coaching. After moving to Australia he had two stints in the National Soccer League with St George before taking charge of the national side, who confirmed his passing on Tuesday night, in 1983.

Former Socceroos coach Frank Arok in 1995.Credit:Craig Golding

Arok was at the helm for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, where despite being drawn in the same group as Yugoslavia and a Brazil side boasting names such as Romario and Jorginho, the Australians advanced to the quarter-finals where they were eliminated by eventual gold medallists the Soviet Union.

His efforts as national coach saw him made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1990.

He returned to Serbia in the early 2000s with a final stint in the NSL as Perth Glory's youth coach his final job in football.

Former Socceroos Mark Schwarzer, Robbie Slater and Frank Farina were among those paying tribute on social media.

"Very sad to hear about the passing of Frank Arok," Schwarzer, who worked with Arok at Marconi, said on Twitter. "Your knowledge, passion and dedication of the game was infectious. The 2 years I had the privilege to work with you were some of my most enjoyable times in football."

Slater paid tribute to a ‘true legend’, the Premier League winning-midfielder describing Arok as 'the man that discovered and made me'.

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