The Wellington Phoenix face a number of unique situations as
a New Zealand team playing in an Australian competition, and
they were thrown another logistical hurdle this week when
they were unable to sign talented young goalkeeper Scott
The club tried to sign Basalaj as injury cover for Glen Moss
but were unable to do so because the international transfer
window had closed.
Instead, Australian Griffin McMaster was signed for three
weeks as cover for Moss, who is suffering from a suspected
hernia and could be out for longer if he needs surgery.
Although the Phoenix are based in New Zealand, the A-League
comes under the jurisdiction of the Asian Football
However, many of the club's development players regularly
turn out for Team Wellington, which plays in a competition
under the Oceania Football Confederation umbrella.
It means a player would be jumping across federations if they
moved from Team Wellington to the Phoenix, which requires an
The transfer window doesn't reopen until the middle of
January, and Phoenix general manager David Dome said they
wanted to be eligible for a dispensation in future to avoid a
similar issue again.
Welsh teams that play in English competitions are granted
similar dispensations when signing players.
"It's a little bit restrictive and that's why we're working
with Fifa and New Zealand Football to try and rectify it,"
"All we want to do is have an understanding between those
parties that we can sign New Zealand players, to clarify our
The ideal scenario for the Phoenix would be that they could
add School of Excellence players to their roster at short
notice, rather than have to track down an Australian.
McMaster spent time with the Phoenix in 2010 as an injury
replacement, and will be on the bench when the Wellingtonians
host A-League newcomers the Western Sydney Wanderers at
Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Phoenix have won only once at the venue so far this
season, and captain Andrew Durante was keen to rectify that
and turn the Ring of Fire back to the fortress it has been in
"We definitely want to get back to winning ways at home," he
said. "But we're not looking too much into it, we've only
played three games at home at the moment. The draw came
against a Brisbane team who we always seem to find it hard
against, and the loss against Central Coast probably should
have ended up a draw."
Sunday's match will be the Phoenix's first ever game against
Western Sydney, a team with the second-best defence in the
"They're doing pretty well," Durante said. "They're obviously
above us, so it's a good opportunity for us to climb above
"They look really hard to break down, they're compact in
defence, and even when they lose games it's only by the
smallest of margins. It's going to be a tough night for the
front guys but hopefully we can break them down."
If anyone can crack the Wanderers' rearguard it could be
Jeremy Brockie, who has scored five goals in his last four
games. Durante said, with Brockie's form and Belgian striker
Stein Huysegems returning from injury, the Phoenix were
spoiled with striking options.
"We've got a lot of choice up front so it's nice to have," he
said. "[Brockie] has been fantastic and taken the burden off
[Paul Ifill] and he can just get back to doing what he does."
The match kicks off at 4.30pm.