|Full name||Ernest Tapai|
|Date of birth||14 February 1967|
|Place of birth||Subotica, Yugoslavia|
|Height||168 cm (5 ft 6 in)|
|1989–1990||Sunshine George Cross||15||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Ernie Tapai (born 14 February 1967) is a former Australian soccer player who spent the majority of his career in the Australian National Soccer League (NSL). He also had stints in England, Portugal and Singapore. Tapai played 52 times for Australia, including 37 times in full international matches.
Tapai was born in Subotica, Yugoslavia (now in Serbia). He migrated to Australia with his parents as a young child.
After playing as a junior for Melbourne Hungaria, Tapai signed for Footscray JUST ahead of the 1985 National Soccer League season. He made at age 18 in the National Soccer League. After playing with Sunshine George Cross and Adelaide City Tapai moved to Europe to play for English side Stoke City.Stoke City. He never got much of a chance at Stoke making just once appearance for the club which came as a substitute in a 2–2 with Crewe Alexandra in the Football League Trophy on 6 January 1993.
Tapai then signed with Portuguese club Estoril, participating in the 1993–94 Primeira Divisão season, where he scored his only goal against Benfica, but moved back to play in Australia. He went on to play for Gippsland Falcons and Perth Glory before playing for three years in Singapore with Home United and Clementi Khalsa and retired after the 2002 season with Westgate.
After ending his playing career Tapai went into coaching.
Tapai played 52 games (37 'A' games) for the Australian national team between 1986 and 1998. He was part of the Australia squad that claimed 2nd place at the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup. Australian manager Terry Venables received criticism for bringing on Tapai in the 1997 World Cup Qualifier against Iran. Australia needed a goal and Tapai was not the man many viewed as being a viable attacking option.
|Footscray JUST||1985||National Soccer League||22||3||—||—||—||22||3|
|1986||National Soccer League||26||4||—||—||—||26||4|
|1987||National Soccer League||21||2||—||—||—||21||2|
|1988||National Soccer League||17||0||—||—||—||17||0|
|1989||National Soccer League||14||0||—||—||—||14||0|
|Sunshine George Cross||1989–90||National Soccer League||15||0||—||—||—||15||0|
|Adelaide City||1990–91||National Soccer League||9||4||—||—||—||9||4|
|1991–92||National Soccer League||26||2||—||—||—||26||2|
|Stoke City||1992–93||Second Division||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0|
|Gippsland Falcons||1994–95||National Soccer League||20||5||—||—||—||20||5|
|1995–96||National Soccer League||28||3||—||—||—||28||3|
|Collingwood Warriors||1996–97||National Soccer League||24||1||—||—||—||24||1|
|Perth Glory||1997–98||National Soccer League||15||2||—||—||—||15||2|
|1||8 July 1992||Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide, Australia||Croatia||1–0||3–1||Friendly|
|2||27 October 1996||Olympic Stadium, Papeete, Tahiti||Tahiti||0–1||0–6||1996 OFC Nations Cup|
|3||11 June 1997||Parramatta Stadium, Sydney, Australia||Solomon Islands||8–0||13–0||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|4||17 June 1997||Parramatta Stadium, Sydney, Australia||Solomon Islands||4–0||6–2||1998 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|6||11 February 1998||Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney, Australia||South Korea||1–0||1–0||Friendly|