Megan Connolly the latest player not to back Vera Pauw as doubts grow over manager’s future

After another of her experienced players refused to support her at the final press conference for tomorrow night’s game in Brisbane’s Lang Park against Nigeria, Pauw once more insisted that it is up to the FAI to sort out her future.

Asked directly should she and her players expect some clarity on her future, she replied simply – “Yes.”

Asked to elaborate, she said, “That situation has not changed.”

Asked whether she has the backing of the players who may support her staying in the role for a third two-year term, Pauw evaded answer.

“I think we have a fantastic bond in our team and that has shown all over the four years. We have a fantastic game tomorrow to play, Nigeria are ranked 52 but we all agree now that they are so, so strong.

“Physically strong, skilful, extremely fast so there is a huge task on our plate, I want to concentrate on that game because it is crucial for us, for our feeling – for our pride – for the tournament.”

Indo World Cup Daily: Is Vera Pauw being left in the lurch by the FAI?

Megan Connolly delivered similar equivocation to a quartet of players who had been asked during the weekend whether they backed their manager.

“I can’t really speak personally on that,” said Connolly, who acknowledged the manager’s role in her past, but without alluding to the future.

“It is not my decision. What we have achieved in the past two, three years under Vera has been amazing.

“She helped us get to this point and I can only speak on my own personal experience and Vera has been great for me. But that is not my decision.”

Pauw was eager to thank the FAI for their support before this World Cup tournament, even if now it seems to be dissipating with just 90 minutes to go before its conclusion.

“We have had an amazing programme and preparation games, earlier against the second level teams when we were growing, then France and the USA, China, then in between Morocco, Zambia and Colombia.

“So all the efforts have been made to give us the best programme possible in the timeframe we were given. And we were preparing in Dublin and here with all the facilities that were the best.

“And that has helped this team to perform at this level. It is the first time we are in a competition with all countries rated in the top ten, although Nigeria are ranked lower by FIFA but they perform as if in the top ten, you have seen that.

“So we had to be ready for that and we could only do that with the support of the FAI and the financial support of FIFA.”

Ireland intend to play their strongest side against the Nigerians, with Heather Payne given every chance to start, despite her tearful withdrawal last Wednesday with hamstring issues.

“We have a huge responsibility to the tournament, to ourselves, to the nation, to FIFA, to the association, to bring on the best performance ever,” said Pauw.

“So if we put players on who haven’t had many minutes yet, the game will only show them. That is not the plan, is to go with the strongest team, and to compete and do our supporters duty in the best way possible.

“The team is very fit. We can push to the last second. We’ve showed that. Also against Canada we were trying and trying to get there.

“The fatigue was not in a way that we couldn’t press anymore. This team is so fit and the programme that the FAI has put on for us has helped in that immensely.

“Because before we wouldn’t be able to, at this level, play 90-plus minutes with that pressure.”

Pauw warned that the Nigerians, who she scouted here with her management team in the 3-2 win against Australia last Thursday, will be a tough opponent.

“They are extremely direct, super fast and very skilful. They are powerful individually and their directness gives them moments where they break through.

“And that makes the difference. They are physically very good.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button