by SHIBU THOMAS
Matildas captain Sam Kerr suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury ruling her out of Australia’s Olympic qualifiers game against Uzbekistan and possibly the Paris Olympics if the national team qualifies.
Kerr, Matildas out gay captain, who led the team to the World Cup semi-finals last year, sustained the injury during Chelsea Football Club’s training camp in Morocco.
Matildas’ head coach Tony Gustavsson described the news as “devastating”.
‘Incredible Loss For Matildas’
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“Considering how hard Sam has worked over the past six months to return to play, this news is a devastating blow for everyone,” Gustavsson said in a statement.
“With her ability to lead by example, Sam’s guidance and influence on the team is significant and, as a result, this will be an incredible loss for the national team.”
“Our focus now is on ensuring she has all the support she wants and needs to navigate recovery and rehab,” Gustavsson added.
Kerr had sat out of the Matildas’ group-stage games at the World Cup due to a calf injury in her left leg. She returned for the knock-out games and led the team to the semi-finals. She suffered another calf injury in her right leg during the World Cup third-place game against Sweden
Kerr Will Be Assessed By A Specialist
— CommBank Matildas (@TheMatildas) January 8, 2024
“Sam will be assessed by a specialist in the coming days and then begin her rehabilitation with the club’s medical team,” Chelsea Football Club said in a statement, adding, “Everyone at Chelsea would like to wish Sam the very best for her recovery.”
Australia is set to take on Uzbekistan in the Women’s Olympic qualifiers in February 2024. Kerr will miss that game as well as the second half of the English Women’s Super League season.
The Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Round 3 between Australia and Uzbekistan is scheduled to be held in Uzbekistan on February 24 and at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium on February 28. Tickets for the Marvel Stadium game are sold out.
“The journey of the CommBank Matildas over the last 12 months has been nothing short of extraordinary. Starting from the heartfelt send-off match in Melbourne, through to this latest sell-out in Melbourne, the Matildas have consistently captivated the hearts of the nation with almost 700,000 Australians coming together to support and celebrate this team and women’s football,” said James Johnson, CEO of Football Australia.