By Josh Parish

Melbourne Victory will be without four first-team players for their ‘Big Blue’ showdown against Sydney FC this Sunday, with Elvis Kamsoba (Burundi), Kenny Athiu (South Sudan), Storm Roux (NZ), and Thomas Deng (Olyroos) all called up on international duty.

This only compounds an unwanted selection headache for Victory boss Marco Kurz, with star recruits Robbie Kruse, Andrew Nabbout, and Tim Hoogland already sidelined through injury.

However, according to a spokesperson from FFA, Victory did not submit an official application to have the date changed, despite meeting the criteria to do so.

“We discussed the matter with Melbourne Victory and no formal request to move the match from that weekend was submitted,” said the spokesperson. 

FFA rules dictate that if 2 senior internationals are called up during a FIFA window, the club may submit a request for a change of date. The same holds for teams missing 4 players to the Olyroos, or one senior international and 3 Olyroos. The request must be submitted at least 10 days in advance of the fixture.

Sydney’s successful request to reschedule the match from Saturday to Sunday – in order to accomodate returning Socceroos Andrew Redmayne and Rhyan Grant – clearly left Kurz incensed.

“They changed the time to Sunday [so] that the players from Sydney are ready,” he sniped during Sunday’s post-match press conference, before opting to hold his tongue, asking the assembled journalists to focus on their 1-1 draw with Wellington.

The FFA spokesperson did stress, however, that simply meeting the criteria was by no means a guarantee of having a game postponed.

“Clubs have the ability to request a match to be moved [based on the criteria] – it is not automatically triggered if the threshold is met.”

As it stands, Victory will be forced to turn to their rarely-deployed young brigade against the reigning champions, with Josh Hope, Birkan Kirdar, and Ben Carrigan all in the mix for a starting berth.

Josh Parish