THE PHOENIX:

Sigmund Of­fers So­lu­tions

The Press - - Sport - Phillip Rollo phillip.rollo@stuff.co.nz

Ben Sigmund fears for the fu­ture of Wellington Phoenix and says it is up to chair­man Rob Mor­ri­son to front up with some an­swers.

‘‘The big­gest is­sue is there is no one be­ing that hon­est re­ally and I think Ki­wis can see through it and they de­serve to be given a lit­tle bit of an in­di­ca­tion as to what is hap­pen­ing, but that is up to Rob Mor­ri­son it’s not up to me,’’ Sigmund said.

Sigmund’s com­ments come in the wake of a Syd­ney Morn­ing

Her­ald re­port which stated that Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion Aus­tralia will block a pro­posed A$15 mil­lion (NZ$16.3m) sale of Wellington Phoenix’s li­cence to a Syd­ney-based con­sor­tium, adding fur­ther shade to the club’s al­ready un­cer­tain fu­ture, which at this stage is only guar­an­teed for a max­i­mum two years.

There have been re­ports of a po­ten­tial merger where games

are split be­tween Syd­ney and Wellington but Sigmund said that sce­nario would be the be­gin­ning of the end for the Phoenix.

‘‘How could that work? Who would fol­low it? You bring a few games to Wellington and have a club train­ing in Syd­ney. How is that our club? How is that our peo­ple? I know this is leak­ing around the me­dia but let’s be hon­est that if Rob Mor­ri­son is re­ally think­ing about do­ing this, then re­al­is­ti­cally the club is se­ri­ously look­ing at mov­ing off­shore and grad­u­ally it will just fade away be­cause I just can’t see how it would work.’’

The club leg­end, who spent all his eight-year pro­fes­sional foot­ball ca­reer at the Phoenix, said it is im­per­a­tive that New Zealand con­tin­ued to have rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the A-League as it pro­vided a path­way for young Ki­wis play­ers.

‘‘The thing I keep think­ing about is the younger gen­er­a­tion and the younger kids com­ing through, how big foot­ball is now in New Zealand and how many young kids are play­ing, but then you think about how up­set­ting it would be to see the only pro­fes­sional team in New Zealand either dis­ap­pear or pretty much up sticks and be in Syd­ney,’’ he said.

Sigmund said it would not take much to turn the Phoenix around and he of­fered three sim­ple so­lu­tions; sign New Zealand play­ers, fo­cus on the academy and in­crease the pub­lic aware­ness by en­gag­ing more with the com­mu­nity.

‘‘The thing we’ve got to do bet­ter is start pulling the Kiwi tal­ent out of the na­tional league and back­ing our young kids and giv­ing them a proper path­way through the Phoenix academy.

‘‘Ki­wis are scream­ing out to see New Zealan­ders do well and de­velop, and cur­rently with the model we are not do­ing it. Yes, there are a cou­ple but we need more and more for these young kids to have the op­por­tu­nity.

‘‘The prob­lem at the mo­ment is the Aussies are go­ing ‘what are you do­ing and who are you rep­re­sent­ing?’ but there’s just noth­ing, we don’t stand for any­thing.

‘‘It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s just got to take the right peo­ple, the right struc­ture and the right vi­sion.’’

‘‘Ki­wis are scream­ing out to see New Zealan­ders do well and de­velop, and cur­rently with the model we are not do­ing it.’’ Ben Sigmund, right

GETTY IM­AGES

Last sea­son was hardly mem­o­rable for Roy Kr­ishna and the Phoenix, and the A-League club faces an un­cer­tain fu­ture as ru­mours swirl about a pos­si­ble merger or sale.

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