Wellington coach Gemma Lewis has slammed Football Australia for making the A-League Women appear “Mickey Mouse” after the governing body failed to return calls as the Phoenix sought to sign a back-up goalkeeper on a short-term deal.
Wellington Phoenix keeper conundrum
- Wellington Phoenix have lost starting keeper Lily Alfeld to international call-up.
- Back up keeper Brianna Edwards will take over, with no substitute to replace her.
- Despite numerous calls by the club for an exemption to sign another back-up, the Football Association have not replied.
- An outfield player will be the backup during their next game against Adelaide United.
More A-League Women’s news can be found on The Women’s Game.
Lewis now faces the prospect of naming an outfield player as the club’s substitute goalkeeper in Thursday’s clash against high-flying Adelaide United with regular No. 1 and captain Lily Alfeld on international duty with New Zealand.
Reserve goalkeeper Brianna Edwards will don the gloves, but things get complicated should Edwards sustain an injury or be sent off.
Wellington don’t have another goalkeeper in their squad and despite their best efforts to get an exemption to sign one, Lewis said daily phone calls to the FA had not yielded a response.
“We put in the exemption, we’ve called the FA every single day and not heard anything back,” she said.
“They haven’t declined it or accepted it and now it’s too late because we’d have to get someone in and they have to have an ECG (electrocardiogram) to be medically cleared to be signed and sit on the bench.
“They’ve essentially forced our hand. We’ve got no other option but to put an outfield player on the bench which we are gutted about to be honest and also gutted about the complete lack of response.
“We haven’t even been spoken to and nobody will pick up our calls.”
Lewis said she was yet to decide which player she would call on to act as the goalkeeper on the bench.
The Phoenix boss said that the chosen player would be designated as a goalkeeper and would not be able to come on and play an outfield role.
“For me it makes everything look Mickey Mouse,” she said.
“In the worst case scenario (and) something happens to Bri then we’re putting someone else at risk because we’re going to ask somebody to go on the field as a goalkeeper with zero training and throw them in at the deep end.”
Lewis, whose side enjoyed the first win of their history with a 3-0 thumping of Canberra on Friday, wants to finish the season strongly.
“We want to take that confidence into the game (against Adelaide) and show we can finish a game off and be disciplined and not not concede,” she added.
The full A-League Women’s schedule can be found using this link.