The Wellington Phoenix saw their three Sydney-based bubbles become one this morning, as the core squad was released from their mandatory 14-day isolation period and reunited with teammates Ulises Davila and Gary Hooper at training.
The majority of the Phoenix squad has been living and training in an isolation facility in New South Wales for the past fortnight, with Davila and Hooper – who travelled to Australia from Mexico and the UK respectively – being housed in a separate hotel for their isolation period.
After completing their final papers allowing them to officially be released from isolation this morning, the players held a training session at Valentine Sports Park before planning to move to their new hotel accommodation in the afternoon.
Wellington Phoenix Coach, Ufuk Talay, says that it’s great to see the team together in one place again.
“The last time the boys were all together was three months ago – it’s good for morale for everyone to be living and training in a single location again, so having Uli and Hoops inside our bubble is important for them and us.”
Although both players were held out of training today due to FFA protocols - instead doing some light running around the training field - Talay says they’re both looking in good shape.
“Uli and Hoops are both looking fit and healthy, and definitely happy – Uli couldn’t stop smiling at training today.”
Although all players are now out of isolation, the Phoenix will still be following strict safety protocols put in place by both FFA and the club as they prepare for their first match against Sydney FC in two week’s time.
Talay says the players are highly enthused and he believes the sky’s the limit for them.
“To have all of our team back for the resumption of the season is something we’re grateful for, especially as we know some other clubs haven’t been as fortunate.
“We’re focussed on being ready for Sydney FC and playing to a high level.”