Highly-touted Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman has been earmarked as the ideal fallback figure by FFA should they fail to land top target Jill Ellis as the new Matildas mentor.
With England zeroing in on Ellis as the ideal replacement for the departing Phil Neville, Australia’s hopes of delivering the hefty pay package sought by the two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning ex-USWNT coach may prove a bridge too far.
And with Neville never seriously considered as a Matildas option - despite reports emanating from the UK - Wiegman, who led the Oranje to 2017 Euros glory on home soil and the final of last year’s World Cup in France, is brimming with all the right credentials.
The 100-cap Netherlands international turned touchline tactician is off contract in 2021, and her allure to FFA is heightened by the transformational role she’s had in lifting the women’s game in her homeland at all levels.
Wiegman, 50, is believed to be on a shortlist along with Ellis, 52, who hung up her clipboard after the USA beat Wiegman’s Netherlands in the World Cup final 13 months ago.
Portsmouth-born Ellis is looking to end her sabbatical, and with joint hosting rights for the 2023 women’s showpiece locked in, plus two Olympic Games and an AFF Asian Cup on the horizon, FFA has dangled a four-year contract carrot whoever Ante Milicic’s successor will be.
The hunt is being spearheaded by CEO James Johnson, with the aid of former Matilda turned FFA director Amy Duggan.
Her CV rounded out by an assistant’s role with the men’s first team at Sparta Rotterdam, Wiegman boasts a Dutch Championship and KNVB Cup with her former club Ter Leede.
She enjoyed further success with ADO Den Haag Women, securing a league and cup double in 2012, and the cup again the following year.
She’s renowned for tactical versatility and flexibility and is cut from a different cloth to compatriot Hesterine Jannetje de Reus, who was shown the Matildas door in 2014 after a player mutiny against her dictatorial style.