Coach confirms Oskar Zawada has played his last game for Wellington Phoenix

posted in: A-League (Men), News

Striker Oskar Zawada won’t play for the Wellington Phoenix again, head coach Giancarlo Italiano has confirmed.

Speaking to media after the 2-1 loss by the Phoenix to Melbourne Victory in the men’s A-League semi-finals, Italiano said: “The available money that we have doesn’t allow us to retain every player we want, unfortunately.”

Asked if the Polish striker had already signed elsewhere, Italiano said: “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him.”

Zawada (28) joined the Phoenix in August 2022 on a two-year contract, after playing for clubs in Poland, Germany, Holland and South Korea. He was the club’s leading scorer in 2022-23, with 15 goals.

Zawada, who has been battling injury problems during the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season, scored a stoppage-time leveller to send Saturday’s semi-final into extra time in front of more than 33,000 fans at Sky Stadium.

Victory scored in extra time, to win the two-legged semi-final 2-1 on aggregate, meaning they’ll face Central Coast Mariners in the grand final on Saturday May 25.

Italiano said because the Phoenix had done well this season, the value of his players had been pushed up.

“I want to reinvest some of that money into some of the younger players that I think I want longer-term.

“For me, I made that decision. Oz at the beginning of the year was looking to move, didn’t get that move and I think there’ll be heaps of suitors for him.”

He said he expected most of the current squad to be at the club next season.

“Whether it’s two or three players that leave, there might be a little bit more, there’s still a chunk. But I think what’s more important is we’ve built that experience now, as part of the foundation of the club to move forward.”


Games played on Saturday May 18, 2024

Semi-final 2, second leg

Wellington Phoenix 1 (Oskar Zawada 90+9′)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Adama Traoré 82′, Chris Ikonomidis 102′)
*After extra time. Victory win 2-1 on aggregate.

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