Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic has been forced to make a late change to his squad for the Olympic qualifying tournament with midfielder Aivi Luik ruled out due to a quad injury.
Luik’s spot has been taken by talented uncapped 15 year old Ellie Carpenter, who has been in camp and training with the squad since the Westfield Matildas arrived in Japan last Monday.
With the tournament seeing the competing teams having to play five matches in 10 days, Stajcic said Luik’s injury concern was too big a risk to take.
“Aivi has had a small quad strain for about a month that probably came about after that 120 minute final she played in the W-League for Melbourne City,” said Stajcic.
“It has been a small complaint and we’ve rested her and given her rehab but the strain has come back, so taking a risk with it would be too much of a risk for our team considering the type of tournament we’re in.”
While disappointed to lose a player of Luik’s experience, Stajcic is confident of what Carpenter will add to the squad.
“Ellie is a youngster who is inexperienced at this level but she brings in so much enthusiasm, she can play in variety of roles for us and she has definitely improved and matured in the short space of time we’ve been together in the past four weeks,” said Stajcic.
“I’m hopeful she can contribute in a number of different ways to our team in the next couple of weeks.”
The Westfield Matildas’ Olympic qualifying tournament begins tomorrow night (Monday 29 February) with a blockbuster against FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Finalists andtournament hosts Japan.
The top two teams from the tournament will qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
The Westfield Matildas Olympic Games Qualifiers will be showcased LIVE on 7mate starting on February 29.