Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson cops heat from legend for A-League Women Finals no-show

Jamie Dunkin
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Lisa De Vanna has asked why Tony Gustavsson hasn't been seen for the A-League finals
Lisa De Vanna has asked why Tony Gustavsson hasn't been seen for the A-League finals Credit: Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty

Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson’s absence from the A-League Women Finals Series has prompted Australian legend Lisa De Vanna to ask why the national team boss hasn’t “graced us with his presence”.

The 150-time capped Matilda tweeted her bemusement over Gustavsson’s lack of appearances at this season’s finals series which will culminate on Saturday with the Grand Final between Premiers Melbourne City and reigning champions Sydney FC.

De Vanna posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Has anyone told national team head coach Tony Gustavsson there is Grand Final on this weekend?”, and had previously told The Nightly of her concerns surrounding the Matildas boss not being in Australia for domestic games.

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Tony Gustavsson’s last public appearance at the A-League Women match was in March during a trip to the Harbour City, watching Sydney FC’s 3-1 victory against Western United, before travelling 35 kilometres west to see Western Sydney Wanderers’ 4-1 win over Canberra United.

Since then, there has been no sign of Gustavsson at any finals match in the country, despite all finals sides being based in easily accessible New South Wales and Victoria, and away from international windows.

Critics of the Swede’s tenure have asked why he has spent little time in Australia to observe the domestic competition which had produced the entire 2023 Women’s World Cup squad since its inception in 2008. Gustavsson’s side finished fourth at the World Cup, and helped usher in a new age for women’s football in Australia.

Similar criticisms surrounding lack of attendance for domestic matches by the national team had been levelled at Socceroos bosses Pim Verbeek, Bert van Marwijk, and Holger Osieck.

Saturday will see Matildas World Cup Hero Cortnee Vine attempt a second consecutive championship victory with Sydney FC, as the Sky Blues face a star-studded Melbourne City side featuring New Zealand duo Hannah Wilkinson and Rebekah Stott at AAMI Park.

Vine is one of several to play on Saturday aiming to find their way into Gustavsson’s 18-player squad for the Olympics this July, with teammate Jada Whyman on the fringes of the squad.

The Matildas’ next camp comes in June, with Gustavsson’s side to play China PR at a sold-out Accor Stadium in Sydney.

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