Two men’s A-League fixtures have been postponed after eight Wellington Phoenix players have tested positive for COVID-19, and their FFA Cup semi-final is likely to also be held over.
The virus outbreak has left the Phoenix with only 11 players capable of training.
This has forced the postponement of:
- January 8 – v Newcastle Jets
- January 16 – v Perth Glory
The latest postponements add to the fixture log-jam facing the Phoenix as two previous games – against Central Coast and Brisbane Roar – were called off due to COVID issues. Neither of those games have yet been rescheduled.
The club is also seeking the postponement of the FFA Cup semi-final against Melbourne Victory, for which a date had not been confirmed but was expected to be played in the first half of January.
Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay told Stuff.co.nz: “We need to be adaptable and the main thing is we need to keep ready to go because these things are going to happen and things are going to change very quickly, so we’ve got to make sure that the players that we have available are fit.”
Meanwhile, the Phoenix women’s team continue with plans for their next fixtures in the women’s A-League.
However, head coach Gemma Lewis says it feels inevitable that COVID will have an impact on her squad at some stage.
“We don’t want the players to get it and they don’t want to get it themselves, especially because we have a big contingent from New Zealand and they’re not used to this.
“It’s definitely pushing the players as now we’re crossing borders, we’re going into Melbourne, we’re travelling, we can’t control what other people are doing. This is when it starts to get really high risk for us.”