Catley replaces Kerr as Australia skipper for Paris 2024 Olympic qualifiers

Steph Catley to captain Australia’s Matildas in absence of injured Sam Kerr for Paris Olympic qualifiers.

Published : Feb 07, 2024 08:56 IST , SYDNEY - 2 MINS READ

Tony Gustavsson, Head Coach of Australia, instructs to Steph Catley.
Tony Gustavsson, Head Coach of Australia, instructs to Steph Catley. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tony Gustavsson, Head Coach of Australia, instructs to Steph Catley. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Arsenal left back Steph Catley will captain Australia’s Matildas in the absence of injured regular skipper Sam Kerr for the final stage of the Paris Olympic qualifiers, coach Tony Gustavsson said on Wednesday.

Prolific striker Kerr suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury at a Chelsea training camp last month and is unlikely to be fit to play in the Olympics even if Australia qualify.

Gustavsson, who guided the Matildas to the semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and the last four of the Women’s World Cup on home soil last year, said Kerr remained an integral part of the Matildas.

“We’re supporting Sam any way we can,” the Swede told reporters from London.

“She’s still going to be part of the team even though she’s not present in the locker room or on the pitch. I know for a fact that Sam wants it to be about the team, not her, now.

“It’s all about qualifying for the Olympics.”

Gustavsson was naming his squad for the two-legged tie against Uzbekistan later this month that will determine if Australia qualify for the Olympics for a fifth time.

READ | Serie A confirms Inter coach Simone Inzaghi banned for match at Roma

Among the contenders to replace Kerr up front is 35-year-old Michelle Heyman, recalled six years after winning the last of her 61 caps despite having already announced her retirement from international football.

“The way Michelle has played, she deserves to be selected, it’s purely performance,” said Gustavsson.

“It’s not about your age for the Matildas, it’s about the quality you have as a footballer, whether you’re 17 or 35.

“Heyman has played herself into this team, the way she is playing, she’s in tremendous form and she’s scoring for fun.”

The Matildas face Uzbekistan in Tashkent on February 24 in the first leg of the tie before hosting the return fixture at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne four days later. 

Sign in to unlock all user benefits
  • Get notified on top games and events
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign up / manage to our newsletters with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early bird access to discounts & offers to our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment