War Horse – Eugene Galekovic


It’s not often a goalkeeper can be considered for the captaincy of a football club, however Adelaide United vice-captain Eugene Galekovic is one of the special few.

It’s not often a goalkeeper can be considered for the captaincy of a football club, however Adelaide United vice-captain Eugene Galekovic is one of the special few.

A captain between the posts is an anomaly in a modern game that considers its leaders the ones who score the important goals or make the last-ditch tackles.

Only a select, highly-regarded minority of goalkeepers have succeeded with the responsibility – the likes of World Cup winning captains Dino Zoff and Iker Casillas spring to mind.

But Galekovic was ready for the challenge and put his hand up to lead from the last line of defence when former captain Travis Dodd left Adelaide to join Perth Glory at the end of last season.

He eventually missed out when new signing Jon McKain was announced as the new captain in August but was given the vice-captaincy along with another club stalwart Cassio.

Coach Rini Coolen admitted Galekovic deserved the captaincy and considers the gloveman second-in-charge behind McKain, but preferred the team was lead by a field player.

“It would have been an honour to captain any club, especially one like Adelaide United. It’s a special club,” Galekovic said.

“I think I’ve got some leadership qualities, but it was up to Rini (Coolen) to make the decision, and unfortunately I didn’t get it.”

“In Rini’s case he made me vice-captain and I’m more than happy to take that. It’s his decision and it didn’t matter what the reasons were behind it.”

The former Melbourne Victory man played down the significance of being captain, despite regularly being seen motivating his team-mates through his vocal leadership and inspiring displays in goals.

“I don’t think that (leadership) comes with the captaincy or being vice-captain, that’s just me normally,” Galekovic said.

“The goalkeeper has to be the most vocal as he sees most of the play. It’s just natural instinct.”

“I wouldn’t have changed if I was captain. I would just keep doing what I’m doing. All it is is an armband.”

Since arriving at the Reds in 2007 from Victory, Galekovic has helped the team become one of the most consistent performers in the Hyundai A-League, with an historic appearance in the 2008 AFC Champions League Final and runners-up in the 2009 Hyundai A-League, particular highlights.

Along the way, he has collected a number of individual accolades including back-to-back Hyundai A-League Goalkeeper of the Year and Adelaide United Club Champion awards in 2009 and 2010, but more importantly made his senior International debut for the Qantas Socceroos.

The 30-year-old went on to make a further three appearances for the national side, before he was selected in the 23-man squad for the 2010 World Cup following Brad Jones’ late withdrawal.

Galekovic has not factored since for the Qantas Socceroos until he was recently invited to a training camp in Sydney by head coach Holger Osieck.

“It’s an honour to be picked for the Socceroos, no matter at what level or at what camps,” Galekovic said reflecting on his invite to the camp.

“Holger’s one of those coaches who is easy to talk to. He usually comes up and talks to you individually and tells you where you’re at and what you have to keep doing to give yourself a chance (for the Socceroos).”

“It was great being there and a part of it again and hopefully there is more of it this year.”

As he gets set to enter his prime years as a goalkeeper, Galekovic is not toying with the notion of moving abroad to further increase his status and chances for the Qantas Socceroos, although he admitted he would be willing to consider an offer if it came along.

“I’m still only 30, so I’m not pushing the case (to leave). I’ve obviously got a contract with Adelaide United,” Galekovic said.

“It’s been tough on me with my visa situation and it’s very hard to get to Europe when you can only get to certain leagues, but if something does come along I’ll definitely have to have a look at it.”

For the moment he prefers to concentrate on winning silverware for Adelaide United, but does have one eye firmly on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“It would be always good to go (to the 2014 World Cup), but you have to set yourself goals and play at a certain level every week to reach those goals,” Galekovic said.

“Obviously my job is Adelaide United and trying to perform there to get the club silverware, and if that happens, then usually then national coach looks at you.”

“I’m reading the game a lot better now and if I keep improving … performing and playing well then I think I’m at least a chance (to be selected).”