HONG KONG (Reuters) - Australian champions Sydney FC will travel to Qatar for next week’s Asian Champions League without first choice goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, who has chosen to remain at home with his pregnant wife ahead of the birth of their first child.
The 31-year-old is due to become a father in January but would have risked being stuck in quarantine upon his return to Australia should Sydney go deep into the continental competition.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” he said.
“It’s tough. It’s hard leaving the boys. I’m a team man.
“I love being around the boys, I love supporting the boys on and off the pitch, so it’s going to be hard missing out on some really good quality games.
“But there’s enough talent in the squad and enough leadership in the squad to do extremely well over there and I’m looking forward to supporting them from home.”
The coronavirus-delayed competition resumes on Nov. 18 in Doha with all 16 teams from the east of Asia converging on the Qatari capital to play out the remainder of the tournament.
With Australian teams facing two weeks in quarantine upon their return home at the conclusion of their involvement in the competition, Redmayne decided not to travel and is likely to be replaced by second-string goalkeeper Tom Heward-Belle.
“Once it was confirmed that we were going I just knew it was something I would have to do, to say no, and it’s the first time in my life where I’ve put anything or anyone above football but I think now is a time like no other to do that,” said Redmayne.
“I think it’s going to be an amazing experience for them and one that I’m regretfully missing, but missing for a good reason.”
Steve Corica’s side will return to action with back-to-back games against Shanghai SIPG on Nov. 19 and 22 before meeting Yokohama F Marinos and Jeonbuk Motors in the return fixtures. The top two teams in the group will advance to the last 16.
Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Christopher Cushing
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