Notts County manager Harry Kewell is to be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
The honour will be bestowed upon him at the 34th Induction and Awards Gala Dinner, which will take place in Melbourne in October.
He will become the first footballer to be inducted in 22 years, joining Peter Wilson (1985), Ray Baartz (1985), John Warren OAM MBE (1986), Joe Marston MBE (1988) and Alfred Quill (1996).
“To be accepted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame is an honour,” Kewell said.
“As a footballer, sometimes we are recognised with team awards because it’s a team sport, but having the opportunity to receive an award as an individual is really special to me because it’s not just looking at one result, it’s looking at the whole picture, a whole season or your whole career – It’s something special.”
With today marking Kewell’s 40th birthday, his memories of the Socceroos’ 2006 World Cup campaign in Germany and the 2-2 draw with Croatia – in which he scored to send his country to the knockout stage - bring about a proud flashback.
“It was a great moment in Australian football history,” Kewell reminisced.
“Every kid dreams of playing in a World Cup and for me to be able just to do that first and foremost was huge.
“To score that goal to put us through to the next round was one of my proudest moments.”
Across 19 years and three continents, Kewell scored 91 goals in 381 club appearances, captained the Socceroos among his 56 national caps and played in two World Cups during Australia’s ‘golden generation’ of the 2000s.
Driven, decisive and blessed with a superb left foot, Kewell featured in Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League victory, the 2006 FA Cup triumph and played a big part in legitimising Australia’s reputation in the football world.
“I look back at my career and I know I gave everything,” he said. “I can safely say that I don’t miss playing now.
“I gave everything my body had, I pushed it to its limits, and now I sit here on another journey which I absolutely love.”
Established in 1985, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame plays a vital role in preserving and perpetuating Australia’s rich sporting heritage, whilst promoting the values of courage, sportsmanship, integrity, mateship, persistence, and excellence, all underpinned by generosity, modesty, pride and ambition.
Kewell will be one of eight Australian sporting icons, from on and off the field, to be inducted at the upcoming ceremony.