SYDNEY (Reuters) - Matildas striker Sam Kerr says the COVID-19 crisis has wreaked havoc in the medium-term career planning for Australia’s top women footballers, leaving them with a major tournament to play every year until 2024.
Kerr and her team mates would have been looking forward to a long break in the middle of next year but that slot will now be occupied by the Tokyo Olympics, postponed by a year because of the pandemic.
“This has put a real spanner in the works,” Kerr told Fox Sports TV from lockdown in London, where she plays for Chelsea.
“I don’t know when I’ll be able to come home, I don’t know when I’ll get my next off year.
“Next year’s Olympics, then Asian Cup, then World Cup, then Olympics again. So the next off-year for the Matildas is five years away now when it was only one year.
“There’s no room for injury now, which is stressful, there’s no room for time off, there’s no room for girls in our team getting pregnant now - because that’s a thing in women’s football.”
Kerr got on the scoresheet as Australia qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a 2-1 victory over Vietnam in a match played behind closed doors in Cam Pha in mid-March.
The wholesale shutdown of world sport was already underway and the Games were postponed shortly afterwards, leaving athletes locked down with their Olympic dreams deferred.
“I’m trying not to think too far ahead because I kind of had my whole life planned out for the next year,” Kerr added.
“I know people will say ‘you don’t have a major tournament this year’ but it’s not a break because we’re in this isolation and lockdown.”
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Editing by Peter Rutherford