April 20, 2014
Clash: Adelaide United’s Awer Mabil contests the ball against Mariners veteran Mile Sterjovski during the A-League elimination final at Central Coast Stadium. Photo: Getty Images
Central Coast Mariners are furious with Football Federation Australia’s scheduling of the A-League semi-finals after they were forced to play Western Sydney Wanderers only a day after returning to Australia from Japan due to their Asian Champions League commitments.
The Mariners will have little more than less than 36 hours to overcome the fatigue and jet lag of an international flight before facing the Wanderers in a sudden-death play-off at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night, which has angered the club due to the significant disadvantage they have been forced to endure.
The tight scheduling will prevent the Mariners from undergoing training between their Asian Champions League match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Japan and their A-League semi-final. The Mariners are also unable to rest a number of core players from their midweek fixture due to injuries and suspensions and will be forced to bring a full-strength squad to Japan before requiring them to back up just three days later in Australia.
Furious: Mariners defender Eddy Bosnar tries to navigate past Adelaide United at Gosford on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images
Mariners coach Phil Moss says he was told the reason the game was scheduled on Saturday instead of Sunday was due to ground availability at Pirtek Stadium next weekend. The venue’s only other tenants, NRL side Parramatta, are away against North Queensland next weekend. Moss was also critical of the short turnaround between travel and finals football as a potential harm to player welfare.
“I think these things need to be thought through more for two reasons; for player welfare and for the quality of the product,” he said. “Both of these things are in jeopardy when you have to get off an overnight flight from Asia. You don’t have time for a session and then you have to play a grand final qualifier the next day.”
Experienced defender Eddy Bosnar slammed FFA’s decision to schedule the match on Saturday instead of Sunday and said this should never happen again for the sake of player welfare.
“As someone who’s been in the game for so long and someone who’s travelled to Asia, I know what it’s like,” Bosnar said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous to arrive here on Friday morning and play on Saturday afternoon.
“But we’ve got no choice. That’s the way they’ve scheduled it. We’ll give everything that we’ve got on Saturday. It’s quite funny that it’s worked out that way but what can you do?”
Unlike many of the wealthier clubs in Asia, the Mariners will travel economy class rather than business, making it more difficult to sleep on the flight. Bosnar said the players’ fitness levels would not be overly jeopardised by the travel but they would suffer mental exhaustion as a result, which could affect their performances.
“Firstly, you’re changing countries, you’re changing your diet, you’re changing food and also you’ve got the long trip and we’re travelling economy class,” Bosnar said. “Asian teams travel business class. . . If we want the game in this country to go, we have to look after players.”
Source :The Sydney Morning Herald
April 22, 2014 – 12:00AM
Tony Popovic: “The draw is the draw, and it’s worked out that way for us. We all play the same amount of games away.” Photo: Getty Images
While the Central Coast Mariners are to endure the week from hell in the lead-up to Saturday’s A-League semi-final, their opponents, Western Sydney, are relishing a far more orderly build-up.
Both clubs are competing in the Asian Champions League midweek, with the Wanderers at home to China’s Guizhou Renhe on Tuesday, while the Mariners play in Japan against Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Wednesday.
So punishing is the Mariners’ travel schedule they won’t be able to train between matches, in contrast to the Wanderers, who are coming off a week’s break in the A-League finals, having finished in the top two.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic admits it is a rare luxury to give his players some down time after a punishing few months.
“Of course it’s helped,” he said after training on Monday. “We’ve had a busy schedule. We’ve played a big game against Melbourne Heart, then flew straight to Korea, then came back and had a few days to recharge the batteries and go again in this competition.”
“The draw is the draw, and it’s worked out that way for us. We all play the same amount of games away.
“Logistically, it’s very difficult [but] it’s turned out that we play at home before a semi-final and we’re pleased about that, but we still have to do a job tomorrow. We still have to recover well for a big semi-final on Saturday.”
The Wanderers need only a point against Guizhou to secure their passage to the round of 16, topping their group after winning three of their past four ACL matches.
Without wanting to undermine the significance of making the knockout stages, Popovic acknowledges domestic duties, which can also guarantee ACL qualification next year, must take priority.
“They’re both important but to stay in this competition, you have to do well in the domestic competitions. That’s the key and this is a very close second,” he said. “We could have one fantastic season in the ACL but not do well in the league and then we won’t be playing in it next year. We want to be a club that is challenging for honours every year, which gives us a chance to stay in the ACL.
“The league is always a priority for me. But this competition, we’ve embraced it, our fans have, our club has, so it’s a close second.”
Wanderers’ defender Daniel Mullen said it wouldn’t be hard to focus on Guizhou, despite a semi-final looming a few days later.
“No, not at all,” he said. “We’re all professionals, the coaching staff have drummed into us that it’s one game at a time. We don’t look past this next game. After the 90 minutes, and what’s done is done, we can look forward to the next game. It’s not that hard.”
Mullen also dispelled any thought the Wanderers were as good as qualified for the round of 16, given the Chinese side’s failed Asian campaign so far.
“Definitely not,” he shot back. “We’ve done well to get into this position where we don’t have to worry about other teams in the group. Everything is in our own hands and we have to go out exactly the same way the first time we played them [winning 1-0 away] and do everything that we can to get a result.”
If the Wanderers finish on top of their group and the Mariners finish second – where both teams are presently positioned – they will be drawn against each other in the knockout stage, an outcome Popovic would love to see.
“It would be great if [it happens]. I hope all three [Australian] sides can get through,” he said. “I think it’s great for the A-League that we can get through to the next round and hopefully that will be the case after Wednesday night. And if it is that we play Central Coast, great. [It means] we’ve both got through to the round of 16 and they will be two great games again.”
If there’s one issue that may be affect both the upcoming matches at Parramatta Stadium it is the quality of the playing surface, which continues to suffer from the wear of hosting rugby league matches.
“It’s ok at best,” Popovic said. “We’ve trained on it, it will be the same for both sides. But we’ve certainly played on better pitches than what is out there at the moment. We know the ground staff will do everything they can to get it up to the best possible standard. But it’s seen better days.”
Source : The Canberra Times
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Evandro Leitão diz que anunciará dono da ‘camisa 100’ antes da final
O torcedor alvinegro terá um incremento a mais para a partida decisiva do Campeonato Cearense de 2014, entre Ceará e Fortaleza. De acordo com o presidente alvinegro, Evandro Leitão, a camisa alusiva ao centenário do clube será apresentada e, com ela, o jogador que irá utiliza-la no restante da temporada.
– Nós teremos uma grande novidade. Iremos apresentar na próxima quarta-feira (23). Todo mundo irá gostar, é um camisa 100 de respeito – afirmou o presidente do clube.
No entanto, Evandro Leitão desconversou sobre a possibilidade de estar promovendo o retorno de Mota. E não quis dar mais detalhes sobre a contratação.
– Nós estamos trabalhando, inclusive não paramos no feriado. Tenho certeza que o torcedor irá gostar. Eu posso dizer que o camisa 100 é extremamente identificado com o torcedor – finalizou.
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