OKON TO BE HONOURED IN AUSTRALIA

OKON TO BE HONOURED IN AUSTRALIA

Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) will grant its highest individual honour, the Alex Tobin Medal, to former Socceroos captain Paul Okon at the 2018 PFA Players’ Awards and 25th Anniversary Gala dinner in Sydney on Tuesday 3 July 2018.

 

Okon joins giants of Australian football in Joe Marston, Johnny Warren, Craig Johnston, Mark Viduka, Frank Farina, Mark Schwarzer, Harry Kewell and Cheryl Salisbury as a Tobin Medal recipient. Proudly supported by LUCRF Super, the Tobin Medal was inaugurated in 2008 to recognise Australian footballers that have demonstrated excellence, leadership, service and commitment to both the game and their fellow players. PFA President Alex Wilkinson said Okon was a fitting recipient of the players’ highest honour.

 

“Paul was such an inspiration to so many young footballers of today, including myself,” said Wilkinson. “He was a great leader of the Socceroos and also a pioneer for Australians wanting to play in Europe. His legacy will certainly live long in Australian football history.”

 

PFA Chief Executive John Didulica lauded as Okon as both a game changer for Australian footballers and one of the Socceroos most important leaders. “Paul was a player who made his name as a graceful, highly technical player at a time when many Australians venturing into Europe weren’t seen in that light,” said Didulica. “He was able to head into some of the best leagues in Europe and take on the continent’s best players toe-to-toe as a genuine technician. In terms of his contribution to the local game, he never shirked his commitment to the national team. He was a great leader of some of our most successful under-age teams but then took the step up to the Socceroos captaincy during a difficult period for Australian football. He really set the standard for the golden generation that would follow and, at a time when we were losing some of our elite players in the tug-of-war, made incredible sacrifices for the green and gold that probably cost him at club level.”

 

Okon started his career in the National Soccer League playing for Marconi where he won the Australian young player of the year in his first two seasons. He then embarked on long and successful career in Europe where he played for 16 years in Belgium, Italy and England, and was capped 28 times for the Socceroos over a 13–year career. “Some of the past winners have been idols of mine…so to be held in that regard alongside them is a huge honour,” said Okon. “It’s always special when the award is selected by players…so I’m very proud.”

 

Source: www.pfa.net.au

editor

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