Impetus’ Kris Goman had an EXCLUSIVE 1:1 chat with Princess Ibini from inside the Australia training camp ahead of their upcoming friendlies in Spain and Portugal (21/6/22).
Above: Princess Ibini speaking to the media yesterday. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Football Australia.
After another impressive season with Sydney FC, Princess Ibini has been recalled into the Australia squad for their upcoming matches with Spain and Portugal. She was in the training camp in Huelva as she spoke to me.
Ibini is clear that her consistently influential performances in the A-League Women are what led to her return to the national side. “My performance in the A-League with Sydney FC has impressed a lot and obviously helped me get picked for this camp so yeah, working with the girls and Ante (Juric) has helped a lot. Mel (Andreatta), the assistant national coach, has said she’s liked what I’m doing so I just need to keep doing what I’m doing!”
Tony Gustavsson has urged players to go look for playing time and clubs overseas, particularly during the A-League Women’s close season. Whilst Ibini didn’t make the move this year, she was open to playing outside of Australia.
“I have considered and was looking to go this season but it didn’t really work out but no I don’t really have any preferences as to where I go. I’d really take either Europe or the USA – both have really great leagues.”
With Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord, and Hayley Raso among those not taking part in these two friendlies, this is a real opportunity for the Sydney FC attacker to stake her claim for a place in the World Cup squad.
“We’re missing some key players but it also gives the girls coming in the opportunity to get some playing time and impress the coach I feel like I could bring some power and pace with my creativity as well coming in so I’m really excited to get playing.”
Whilst this is a new and unusual Matildas squad given the circumstances, there’s a good core of Sydney FC players past and present in the selection, Ibini believes that this will only help her blossom over the coming week.
“Yeah, I think that core group of Sydney FC girls will help a lot since we’ve played together for many years. I feel it will be easy for us to gel as a team and get things going so I’m really excited to do that. The girls missing will be missed during this camp but hopefully, the girls that have come in will do the job.
The Matildas face Spain on Saturday night and draw the majority of their squad from the extremely dominant Barcelona club side. It will be a big challenge for Australia.
“They are probably one of the best teams in the world with the Ballon D’or winner so to go up against players like that will really test us and we can see where we’re at but we’ll put up a good fight. Alexia Putellas is definitely an amazing player so I’m really excited to verse her.
“Everyone’s pretty relaxed at the moment. Feeling good, feeling ready to go. We are a very high pressing tempo team so we’ll press and hopefully, we keep the ball more than they do and we won’t have to press that much.”