Socceroo goalkeeper James “Jim” Fraser and Matilda striker Linda “Sunni” Hughes were inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame at the 2013 Function in Melbourne today.
Fraser was the resilient goalkeeper whose rearguard action helped Australia qualify for the FIFA World Cup Finals for the first time in 1973 before embarking on a coaching career that has seen him shape the careers of countless Australian goalkeepers.
Hughes played 78 internationals for the Matildas from 1989-2000, scoring 24 times. She represented Australia at the 1995 FIFA World Cup and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, finding the back of the net in both tournament
“Jimmy and Sunni have both made invaluable contributions to the Australian football history and thoroughly deserve to take their place in the FFA Hall of Fame,” said FFA Chief Executive Officer David Gallop.
“They join an incredibly esteemed group of former players, coaches and volunteers who have helped shape Australian football to the point where we are currently enjoying unprecedented growth.
“I congratulate Jimmy and Sunni and on behalf of the entire Football Family I thank them for the contribution they have made to football.”
James “Jim” Fraser biography:
Born: 28 April 1948
Australian Men’s national team stats: 8 appearances from 1973-1974.
National team honours: Debuted against Bulgaria 18 Feb 1973
Clubs: Polonia (1969), St George Budapest (1970-1974)
It is arguable that over his career that Jim Fraser has had as much influence on the game as any other Australian goalkeeper. He helped Australia qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the first time, played at the top level for St George Budapest in its glory days in the 1970s and in recent years has coached many of the top keepers in the land at his International Goalkeepers’ Academy in Sydney. He has also been the specialist goalkeeping coach at Sydney FC in the A-League. His enthusiasm and professionalism have communicated themselves to a legion of young and not so young keepers including Clint Bolton, Liam Reddy and Justin Pasfield.
Born in 1948 in Sydney, his dad was an ice hockey goaltender, but young Jim made his game football. He started at Polonia and his talent was recognised early as he was selected as a member of the Australian World Cup squad for the qualifiers in 1969, behind the incumbent Ron Corry. Fraser went to St George in 1970 where he broke his wrist in 1971 and spent some time at Canterbury on loan after he recovered. St George tried a couple of other keepers but when Jack Reilly decided to return to Melbourne, Jimmy Fraser regained his spot at St George. When World Cup qualification got under way in 1973, Ron Corry was still the number one keeper with Reilly pressing him close. Jim Fraser’s performances for St George could not be ignored and he got his first full cap at Olympic Park in Melbourne against Bulgaria on 18 February 1973. Though the Socceroos lost 2-0 against a full strength Bulgaria, Fraser showed that he could handle the job.
After Australia was held to a surprise 3-3 draw by New Zealand, Fraser was given the number one spot against Iraq on 18 March 1973 and kept a clean sheet as the Socceroos held out Iraq in a scoreless draw. A 6-0 thrashing of Indonesia saw Australian through the first stage, a point and goal difference ahead of Iraq. The next opponent was Iran and Fraser once again denied the opposition as Australia ran away with a 3-0 win. The second leg in Tehran was a different story as Iran scored twice through Parviz Ghelichkhani in just over half an hour. It was backs to the wall from then on, with Fraser putting up the shutters once again. Then came home and away matches against South Korea. Both were drawn, the first scoreless, the second a fightback from a 2-0 deficit. While Branko Buljevic and Ray Baartz got the credit for the goals, Fraser’s patience, skill and positioning ensured no further goals against and so the final place at the World cup had to be decided by a third match in Hong Kong. Everyone knows about Jimmy Mackay’s 70th minute thunderbolt, but fewer appreciate the unflappable keeper’s performance. Les Murray thought it was the best goalkeeping performance he had ever seen. So Australia was all set for the trip of a lifetime to West Germany.
Unfortunately Jimmy Fraser found he could not abandon his security business and had to pull out of the squad, handing his place to Jack Reilly. Virtually all of the Australians were part-timers in 1974 and Manfred Schaefer who ran a milk delivery service had missed one tour and threatened to leave another after his financial arrangements were not honoured by the Australian Soccer Federation.
Jimmy Fraser made 10 appearances for Australia, and represented New South Wales against several visiting teams and in interstate matches. When he hung up his boots in 1978 he began a long-running coaching career at a host of clubs and with the national and state teams and eventually set up the International Goalkeepers’ Academy in 2000.
Linda ‘Sunni’ Hughes biography:
Born: 9 June 1968, Newcastle
Australian women’s national team stats: 63 A-Internationals (24 goals). All Internationals 78 (24 goals) from 1989–2000
National team honours: 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup, 2000 Olympic Games
Clubs: Toronto Awaba, Adamstown, Furtuna Hjorring (Denmark), Matsushita Bambina (Japan), Hunter Region, Northern NSW Pride
Winger Linda ‘Sunni’ Hughes from Northern New South Wales first represented Australia in the third Oceania Cup in 1989. A speedy, agile forward she scored over 20 goals in this decade for Australia in a 10-year career as a forward. She played in the 1991 World Cup qualifiers scoring six goals in two matches against Papua New Guinea. She represented Australia in the 1992 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers scoring a further two goals against Papua New Guinea, and during the first game of Australia’s first participation in the World Cup in 1995 scored Australia’s second goal in the 4-2 loss to China. Teaming successfully with co-striker Murray, she played 78 internationals including all three matches in the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup and in the 2000 Olympic Games when she scored in Australia’s 1-2 loss to Brazil.