Kosmina praises Popovic

Sydney FC coach John Kosmina has applauded skipper Tony Popovic after the 35-year-old unselfishly pulled the pin on his stellar career mid-season.

Sydney FC coach John Kosmina has applauded skipper Tony Popovic after the 35-year-old unselfishly pulled the pin on his stellar career mid-season.

An emotional Popovic confirmed his decision publicly on Tuesday shortly after breaking the news to his 'shocked' team-mates.

But the veteran defender won't be far away having accepted a role on Kosmina's coaching staff for the remainder of the season.

"I really respect his honesty with himself, with me and with his team-mates because at the end of it that's what it all comes down to," Kosmina said.

"I've seen enough guys kid themselves on and drag out their careers too long."

"You're better off doing it a season too early than a season too late and Tony's chosen (to retire now), he knows he's not good physically."

Kosmina revealed he did not attempt to change Popovic's mind but conceded replacing the former Socceroos stalwart won't be easy.

"He's the sort of guy that (when he) makes his mind up, he doesn't say things lightly he says what he means," Kosmina said.

"It's a big loss but I mean you can't quantify it."

"I don't know how we're going to fill his boots at the moment, the leadership thing is probably the most important but I was just having a chat with Tony outside and the players have to now take on board a little bit more responsibility."

"They can't just rely on him to change things when maybe things aren't going right."

Popovic said he is yet to reflect on his achievements in the game and revealed his plans to try his hand at coaching.

"In the long term I'd definitely like to coach, that's something that I started thinking about probably a few years ago," he said.

"When my career started you know you have dreams of when I was 16 playing in the first team at Sydney Croatia and you have all these dreams of playing for your country and playing in Europe and playing in a World Cup."

"I was fortunate to achieve a lot of those dreams and I've got dreams to one day be the best coach and why not? I'll give it my best shot and we'll see how it goes."

Steve Corica will take over as captain in Popovic's absence while Kosmina will make a decision on a replacement player in the coming weeks.