The OzSoccer Articles

Help us Obi-Mark Kenobi, you're Australia's Hope

The following article was written by Matthew Summers, who clearly thinks Mark is useful with his feet and a ball.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of viewing one of Australia's rising stars visit Wollongong and consequently tear the poor old Wolves apart. His name was Mark Viduka. I had never seen in my life a more talented, more determined, more focused player than Mark Viduka. He has faced some huge barriers in front of him, and conquered them with flair and style thus far.

On that day, I believe the crowd had witnessed something special, he scored twice, and set another one up, shattering the Wolves with his physical presence, and speed for a player of his size. It was only his 5th game for the Knights. Since then, Mark or as some people affecionalty call him, the 'V - Bomber' has moved overseas, to various clubs, to pursue a dream of becoming the best Australian striker there was. He is currently with Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic, and scoring almost at will. He is having a superb start to the season and has already struck a deadly partnership with Swedens World Cup star Henrik Larsson, at time of print, he has scored three times in two games for them in their bid to regain the title from rivals Rangers. Australia need him, Mark Viduka is the key in our bid to get to the World Cup in 2002. Without him, we are shooting blanks up front. When Mark plays, Australia win. In everygame Mark has played in, Australia has either drew or won, all except the Confederation Cup final, where Brazil needed Viduka to be sent off, before they actually got control of the game.

He is still very young, only 23, and not the complete player yet, he still has a lot to learn in the ways of the game, both on the field and off it. His career has taken him from player of the year here in the NSL, to FC Croatia, playing an essential role in their European hopes, then on to Celtic, who ironically he had helped eliminate from the Champions League when at FC Croatia. He has honed himself at these clubs, and before then when at the AIS, where his peers had predicted he would never make a decent player. How wrong they were. He is superb on both feet, is his strongest in the air, is very quick, technically very good, and the greatest asset he brings to the national squad is that he is a team player, and he plays to win.

Although he is idolised by many, he is not God, he too has his problems, both on the field and off. Ranging from his desire to play for Australia in our previous World Cup qualifiers, where his club then, FC Croatia blocked such ventures until the last few games, then his lack of form coinciding with death threats to him and his family then his well documented walk out on Celtic, just days after signing for them, claiming depression. Then just recently, a spitting charge which landed him in hot water and his comments to the media about a desire to play in the English Premier league. Now Celtic have a clause with Viduka, that he is not to talk to the press, without their permission. Barring any comments, that may affect his career and regret later on.

Australia's next set of World Cup qualifiers see us play the 5th placed country in South America, for a coveted spot at the World Cup. We need Viduka to play, South American teams are not known for their tight defenses, and his physical presence would be a great thorn in their side. The road to the World Cup lies there, and with Viduka firing, we have a great chance of qualification. Although he may not get the media coverage of Harry Kewell, or Mark Bosnich, he is in my opinion, the best player we have along side Paul Okon and Kewell. Without him, Australia have no one yet to place up front alongside Aloisi, only Kewell, who prefers to play a support role can possibly fill that void left up front by Viduka's absence. We need Viduka to play for Australia, he plays an essential part in the national setup, giving us what we lacked in previous years, a target man who scores at will. We have a lack of players with his talent and composure at this current time to replace him up front.

Although the signs are there, that Sterjovski will someday be the next 'V - Bomber', or perhaps Curcija. They have the talent, but need to be guided and to expierience a higher level of soccer. Viduka hopefully, for many soccer fans out there, will continue to score and perform at his club, and produce the form, that has made him Australia's greatest current striker, hopefully he will have no more problems in a somewhat troubled career, but the greatest players have problems at one stage or another, Paul Gascoigne and Romario are evidence of that. His talent is unquestioned. Without him, Australia is just not Australia.