A slice of WA football history is re-discovered
THE DISCOVERY of an old Annual Report of the Junior Soccer Association of Western Australia has led to another discovery...that of three WA youngsters making history in the first FIFA Under-16 World Cup finals.
A Committee member of the Football Hall of Fame WA stumbled across the long-lost 1985 Annual Report when assisting in a "clean-up" project at Football West's premises at Gibney Reserve in Maylands.
The front cover portrays a picture of WA brothers Gareth and Craig Naven and Scott Racey, who competed for Australia in the 1985 Under-16 World Cup finals, which were held in China.
It was the first time that three WA players had played for the national team in a World Cup finals tournament, in any age group. They were all with Bayswater Inter at the time.
And the trio made a stunning impact in a team that also included soon-to-be stars Paul Trimboli and Craig Foster, who later went on to play for the Socceroos.
The young Aussies shocked the football world when finishing top of Group B with six points, having won all their three group matches.
And Craig Naven was the hero from the first group game, scoring the winner in the 1-0 triumph over South American hot-shots Argentina. All three West Australians were in the starting line-up.
Hugo Maradona, the younger brother of Diego Maradona, played for Argentina against Australia. Although not enjoying the same high profile as Diego, the younger Maradona went on to play in Europe, Japan and Canada.
Australia then beat Congo 2-1 with goals from Trimboli and Stan Thodis (the Navens started and Racey came on as a sub), and they rounded off their dominance of the group with a 1-0 win over West Germany, with Trimboli again on target.
Racey and Gareth Naven started against the Germans, while Craig Naven missed out because of injury.
In the quarter-finals they were fancied to beat African opponents Guinea, but lost 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out after the game had been deadlocked at 0-0.
Guinea went on to lose to Brazil in the play-off for third place in the tournament, which was won by Nigeria with a 2-0 triumph over West Germany in the final.
The Aussie line-up v Argentina: Corrado Nobile (GK), Damien Butler, Gareth Naven, Craig Naven, George Jolevski, Michael Graham, Craig Foster, Alfie Catalano, David Barrett, Scott Racey, Paul Trimboli. Subs: George Bouhoutsos, Robert Runje, David Scott, Mark Talajich, Anthony Grbac, Stan Thodis, Colin Cooper.
JSA President Harry Croft lavished praise on the WA trio in the 1985 Annual Report, saying: "All the boys played very well in China. Craig will probably remember his goal against Argentina for the rest of his life. Gareth was the captain for this game and both he and Scott worked hard to keep the Argentinians at bay.
"Once again, it has been demonstrated by these West Australian players that if you work hard at your skills you can match the best in Australia."
The Naven twins went on to taste considerable success at club level with Perth Italia, and later with Perth Glory, who Gareth captained from 1996 until 2002. Both have been inducted into the Football Hall of Fame WA.
Scott Racey looked set for a dazzling career in football when he topped the WA State League goalscoring charts in 1991. But, at the age of 22, he was forced to quit the game after he suffered a brain aneurism.
**ANOTHER trio of WA youngsters made their mark on the international stage when Perth Italia teenagers Tony Carbone, Marc Wingell and Vince Matassa represented Australia in the finals of the 1993 World Youth Cup, which were held mainly in Sydney. The Aussies finished fourth, losing 2-1 to England in the third-place play-off.
The 2013 World Youth Cup finals in Turkey gave WA its highest representation at international youth level so far, with Adam Taggart, Daniel de Silva and Scott Galloway starting the game against El Salvador, and Ryan Williams coming on as a sub.
In the next group game against Turkey, Galloway, Williams and Taggart started, with de Silva coming off the bench.
**OTHER WA players who have featured in various under-age World Cup finals in the last 35 years include Tony Franken and Roy Jones (both 1983 in Mexico); Alistair Edwards and Alex Cummings (1987 Chile); Tony Carbone and Vas Kalogeracos (1991 Italy); John Carbone and Antonio Naglieri (1993 Japan); Adrian Madaschi (when Aust lost to Brazil in the 1999 final in NZ); Antony Danza (scored a hat-trick v Croatia in 2001 Trinidad and Tobago); Mark Birighitti and Trent Sainsbury (2011 Colombia); Dylan Tombides (who scored v Ivory Coast in 2011 Mexico).
PIC ONE: WA's history-making trio on the cover of the 1985 JSA Report. PIC TWO: The Naven twins also featured in the 1983 JSA Report.