FFA Chief Says Flights Could Make A Difference
Football Federation Australia chief executive Mr John O’Neill believes the different approaches that Australia and Uruguay took getting back to Australia, may make a difference in Wednesday night’s match.
Football Federation Australia chief executive Mr John O-Neill believes the different approaches that Australia and Uruguay took getting back to Australia, may make a difference in Wednesday night-s match.
While the FFA, thanks to its national team naming rights sponsor Qantas, organised a charter flight, the Uruguayans are believed to have travelled in economy on their LAN Chile flight from Santiago to Sydney, due to having to book late, after their own charter plans backfired.
“It worked perfectly,” said Mr O-Neill (pictured right), after stepping off the charter flight. “Qantas should be congratulated, the whole trip went unbelievably smoothly, the players are well rested and they will be very prepared for Wednesday night.
“I think the margin (between the two teams), the charter flight could really be the difference between us getting there and not getting there.”
Uruguay arrived in Sydney several hours ahead of Australia, but as the former ARU boss pointed out, this was not about who could get back first and have more time to recover.
“We knew Uruguay would arrive earlier to Sydney. They were flying commercial, it was a bigger aircraft and they took a different route.
“It wasn-t so much about timing, this is more about comfort. Our blokes certainly didn-t fly economy and we had the whole plane to ourselves and it was a very big plane.”
From the moment the match in Montevideo finished the Uruguayans were forced to hurriedly leave the ground, catch a flight from Montevideo to Santiago in Chile and virtually walk straight onto the LAN Chile flight to Sydney.
Australia on the other hand, was able to take its time and did not leave Montevideo until two and half hours after the match had finished, flying to the Cook Islands, where they had a brief stop for refuelling before continuing their journey to Sydney.
When asked about whether the plane was fitted out with massage tables for the players, Mr O-Neill was quick to reply, “I didn-t have a massage myself, but it was set up.
“We had two doctors, physio-s and a masseuse, so the players were treated as they needed to be. There weren-t too many injury worries and the sleep patterns were organised so they simulated with Sydney time, as were meals..
“We all grabbed a great nights sleep, so the charter was perfect.”
Asked how he thought the mood was on the flight, Mr O-Neill was extremely upbeat and confident.
“The mood is very good. It-s literally half time in a 180 minute match. We are 1-0 down, but the home game is in front of us and the boys are very confident, the coach is confident and we think we can do it on Wednesday night at Telstra Stadium.”
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