With each passing day, a new chapter is seemingly written in the saga that has been the dismissal of Alen Stajcic as Matildas coach, and with it, new complexities and fresh innuendo arrises.
Originally cited by Football Federation Australia as the reason for Stajcic’s dismissal on Saturday was an “unsatisfactory team environment”, outlined by player welfare surveys conducted by the PFA and anti-violence advocacy group Our Watch.
But since, multiple reports have emerged telling of a host of potential triggers for Stajcic’s axing after five years, including that players were afraid to ask for help, reported by the ABC, and suggestions of a “witch hunt” as per the Sydney Morning Herald.
With such a lack of facts in the public domain – despite two press conferences, one fronted by FFA CEO David Gallop and chairman Chris Nikou, and then Gallop himself – making sense of the full picture is tough, nearing on impossible.
Stajcic himself has yet to comment, said to be consulting legal minds, while a host of Matildas players have taken to social media to thank their now former manager who guided them to as a high as fourth in the world.
Those players themselves will still be making sense of the sudden situation, but defender Laura Alleway believes her national teammates must approach the managerial change with an optimistic frame of mind.
“The whole playing group was pretty shocked by it,” she said on Wednesday’s Daily Football Show.
“It wasn’t the best way to be delivered … it all came out very quickly and we’re still very much in the dark about it.
“But we trust in the FFA and their process and what they’re trying to do.
“We’ve got to try and take a positive mindset from it. We’ve got the World Cup in four and a half months. You never know, a new coach could really shake things up and lift the girls to whole new heights.
“If you’re going to go in with a negative attitude, you’re probably going to get something negative out of it.”
Melbourne Victory’s Alleway revealed a prearranged team-building session between Matildas was emotionally charged.
“We’ve all grouped together, we’ve had a massive two days,” she added.
“It was very emotional. There were lots of tears, there was a lot of team bonding but I think it was a super productive two days and we’re really just trying to set our focus back on the World Cup.
“We know that, if nothing else, Staj wants us to be successful too so we know we’ve got his support.
“Some of the girls will be going out there and doing it for him and doing it for everyone, their families, everyone they’ve always played for.
“That won’t change. There’s such a respect for him, he’s done amazing things for our team. But who knows, maybe a shakeup will be a good thing for the Matildas and we still want to take that podium.”
The Matildas will be back in action in late February when they take part in the inaugural Cup of Nations, also featuring World Cup entrants South Korea, Argentina and New Zealand.