Ange says Cahill is one of Australia's sporting greats
TIM CAHILL is an "Australian great” whose achievements in football demand recognition from the entire nation, according to his national team coach Ange Postecoglou.
Cahill will rack up 100 games in the green and gold should he feature in Australia's must-win Confederations Cup match with Chile on Monday (1am AEST).
Postecoglou believes Cahill's longevity and consistency at the top of the world game puts him on a level standing with any Australian sportsman or woman who has ever claimed a world title or Olympic gold medal.
"I don't think it's just the football. I think [he's contributed] to Australia as a nation,” Postecoglou said.
"He's a great Australian, transcending the sport. To play 100 games for your country, to score in three World Cups, at the highest level.
"He didn't start his international career until he was 24. Not because of ability but because of other factors. So we could be sitting here at 120-130 caps. Every one of them earned.”
Cahill played for Samoa as a youngster and was granted leave to turn out for the country of his birth only thanks to a FIFA rule change while he was playing for Millwall in England in his mid-20s.
"If he plays tomorrow it's not because he's playing his 100th [game], it's because he will have earned it,” Postecoglou said.
"Hopefully recognition of this is not just from the football community, but from the country as a whole.
"I've got no doubt if it was any other sport in the country he would be held up as that. He's conquered the world.
"We've done it in tennis, we've done it in golf; you name a sport, we've had world champions at Olympics. That's what this guy is.”