Honoured Milicic eyes 'special' achievement with talented Westfield Matildas
An "extremely proud" Ante Milicic is brimming with belief about what the Westfield Matildas can achieve at the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup as he prepares to meet his players.
The highly rated 44-year-old has been appointed Head Coach until the end of France 2019 and will assemble an inaugural squad in Brisbane this weekend to begin preparations for the Cup of Nations matches on home soil.
A six-cap former Australia international, Milicic boasts a wealth of experience within the national teams department having served as an assistant to the Caltex Socceroos at both Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018, as well as the triumphant AFC Asian Cup in between.
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He views the Westfield Matildas as a team capable of flourishing at the game's pinnacle and is excited about sharing his typically meticulous plans with the squad.
"I'm really looking forward to getting to know the group and the group getting to know me, and I really can't wait for Saturday," Milicic told matildas.footballaustralia.com.au.
"They'll see the way I have been in the past and the experience I've gained throughout the national teams.
"I'm a coach that really wants to improve them and get them up to a level where I feel we can achieve some great things moving forward.
"I've worked with great Australian teams in the past and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with this group because it's very, very talented and it's got the potential to do something special.
"It's a group that's hungry for success and at the same time that's what I want.
"I believe through my experience I can assist them in providing a good platform to move forward and be competitive at this World Cup."
Milicic, who has also coached at Sydney United 58 and with two clubs in the Hyundai A-League, has remained deeply invested in Australian football despite using Croatia as a base for his Caltex Socceroos scouting assignments in recent times.
The former Johnny Warren Medal Winner consulted with contacts close to the Westfield Matildas setup before embarking on an application process that fuelled his enthusiasm for the position.
"I had a look at a few things and did the tests that were presented to me through the FFA, and also went through the interview process even though I was in Europe at the time and it was 4:00am in the morning," he smiled.
"I enjoyed going through that and getting a deeper understanding of it.
"In the end, I think once you go through that process of the interview, that competitiveness comes out of you.
"I really wanted the job and was absolutely delighted when they contacted me to offer me the role."
As he dives into the build-up to the opening Cup of Nations clash against New Zealand at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on February 28, Milicic does so with a full sense of pride and responsibility.
"It's a massive honour," he said. "It's being identified as someone that will carry the flag for the footballing nation around the world.
"It's a proud moment and a great opportunity. The women realise that, I realise that.
"[I'm] as excited as the first time I played with the Socceroos.
"To be given this opportunity, I'm extremely proud and honoured and at the same time I know what a big role it is as well."