Former Matildas striker Catherine Cannuli says the poisonous debate dredged up after the sacking of Alen Stajcic is harming football's growth in the women’s and men’s game in Australia.
“For the public on social media to come out and start saying things like that, it’s really sad that we’re bringing it down to that level.
“Sometimes when things like Alen’s sacking happens, people get off the beaten track around why… and because there’s not a clear reason why he was sacked, that void is being filled by people going off track by opening different cans of worms.
“People are obviously divided about what’s been going on.”
The former forward who played for Wanderers, Roar and Sydney FC added that her first-hand experience with Stajcic showed why she felt the sacking was unjust, and also unclear - one which requires a clearer more transparent explanation.
“It wasn’t clear to me at all,” she said about the reasons given by FFA.
“FFA has said what they said, but for me, not just as an outsider but as a football fan, it hasn’t been clear. There’s been no transparency.
“As a football fan, I love the game, we deserve to know what he’s done wrong. If he’s done something wrong, then us as the public deserve the know the reasoning behind it.
“We deserve that. And it’s not fair to come out and say one thing… we want answers to what is going on.”
She also describes Alen Stajcic as a true family man with a devotion to advancing women's’ football in Australia.
And she should know having first met Stajcic almost 20 years ago as a player before being mentored by him in her own coaching journey.
“I’ve known Staj since I was a young kid at NSWIS around 2001. He was starting out as a coach. One thing for sure, he’s always loved the women's’ game.
“That’s what he loved. It’s his passion. He gave the Matildas hope and belief. If it wasn’t for him, and knowing the group, they would’ve got that sort of success.
“Tommy Sermanni [former Matildas coach] was a top coach but Staj has taken it to another level with a good crop of players coming through too.”
Loads are a hot topic given most Matildas are full-time footballers, playing abroad in big leagues and in the W-League, meaning they have a full year of club plus international football.
Cannuli noted the importance now of managing those loads.
“We have to take into consideration their loads and the stress on their bodies. So it needs to be looked at in terms of how much they’re playing,” she added.
Whatever happens today at the FFA board meeting and the continued fallout, the former W-League and Matildas striker remains downcast about the game right now and how it’s turned on itself.