Impetus’ Ben Gilby heard from coach Mel Andreatta and defender Charli Grant as Australia’s squad for the AFF Championships was announced today.
Above: Mel Andreatta, who will lead the U23 Matildas side in the AFF Women’s Championships this month. Photo: Football Australia.
Head Coach Mel Andreatta has finalised Australia’s U-23 Representative Team to compete at the 2022 AFF Women’s Championships in Manila, Philippines.
Australia will take 28 players to face the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia in Group A of the tournament commencing on 4th July 2022.
The tournament is full of rapid fire matches, with group games coming every other day – and players will have little time to rest or prepare for the next game making it a real challenge.
Despite the obvious welfare issues, Andreatta sees nothing but positives for the squad, and expressed her anticipation of facing the best nations in the South-East Asian region and the opportunity ahead for the team.
“It’s an exciting time and to be preparing for an international tournament is something I’ve been really looking forward to. I know this group of players are too,” Andreatta said.
“The 28 players that we’ve selected are some of our brightest young prospects in Australian football. They have been selected as players that have performed strongly in the A-League Women’s season and then have moved into different environments and continued to perform consistently.
“They have shown qualities that we’d like to see tested at the next level and potentially identify a player for the 2023 World Cup.”
All but two members of the squad are aged 23 and under with Larissa Crummer and Matilda McNamara selected. Six members of the squad have recorded full senior international appearances with eight players participating in the recent June FIFA Women’s International Window in Spain and Portugal with the CommBank Matildas.
A further 15 players were featured in Leah Blayney’s Young Matildas squad that took part in the recent two-match international series between Australia and the Junior Football Ferns last month.
“Tournaments like this I think are crucial in continued the development of footballers gaining invaluable knowledge of playing in tournament mode against top nations,” Andreatta added.
“Gaining vital match minutes, in the best possible environments, is something that we’ve known for a long time now is critical for the development of a player. Through this tournament, in addition to the recent Matildas and Young Matildas camps, we are providing the next generation of footballers more chances to build their bank of competition experience.
“There’s a lot that gets me excited about this group and their quality. These players have shown some unique qualities that we think could add to what we already have and create more depth and competition in the extended Matildas squad.
“I’m eager to see these players take this opportunity with both hands and really test themselves against the best in South-East Asia.”
Charli Grant, who was one of the major plusses in last week’s international window senior games for the Matildas against Spain and Portugal is one of those who made the final squad and believes the opportunity has come at the right time for her.
“It’s really exciting to be part of another tournament and test myself against teams like the Philippines and Thailand.
Despite playing in the majority of her club side Rosengård’s pre-season Swedish Cup matches, Grant has been generally used as a substitute in the latter stages of Damallsvenskan matches, and the South Australian sees this month’s competition as a great chance to experience regular 90 minute action once more. Her selection therefore is a positive both for her personally, and for her club to be reminded of what she is capable of.
“It’s really important (for me) to get match minutes in my legs. It will be nice to have that experience.
“I’ve played with some of these girls before for Young Matildas, so it’s great to build those connections again – but it’s great to see the younger generation come through and see what they have got to offer.”
Despite being just 20 herself, Grant will be one of those players that that younger generation will be looking up to – it’s a sign of how far she has come in such a short period of time. Yet one can’t help but feel that the best is yet to come for Charli Grant.
Australia will kick off their tournament against hosts the Philippines on 4 July at Biñan Football Stadium in Biñan.
|NAME||POSITION||CLUB / MEMBER FEDERATION|
|Alexia APOSTOLAKIS||Defender||Football NSW Institute / Football NSW|
|Chelsea BLISSETT||Defender||Lions FC on loan from Melbourne City FC / Football Victoria|
|Naomi CHINNAMA||Defender||Blacktown Spartans on loan from Melbourne City FC / Football Victoria|
|Larissa CRUMMER||Forward||Capalaba FC / Football QLD|
|Leah DAVIDSON||Midfielder||APIA Leichhardt on loan from Melbourne City FC / Football Queensland|
|Chelsie DAWBER||Forward||Chicago Red Stars / Football South Australia|
|Jynaya DOS SANTOS||Forward||Football NSW Institute / Football NSW|
|Daniela GALIC||Midfielder||Football NSW Institute / Football NSW|
|Sheridan GALLAGHER||Forward||Illawarra Stingrays / Football NSW|
|Katie GODDEN||Forward||DePaul University / Windlesham United|
|Charlotte GRANT||Defender||FC Rosengard / Football South Australia|
|Mackenzie HAWKESBY||Midfielder||Sydney FC / Football NSW|
|Winonah HEATLEY||Defender||Sydney Olympic / Football QLD|
|Sarah HUNTER||Midfielder||APIA Leichhardt on loan from Sydney FC / Football NSW|
|Princess IBINI-ISEI||Forward||APIA Leichhardt / Football NSW|
|Sally JAMES||Goalkeeper||Blacktown Spartans / Capital Football|
|Caitlin KARIC||Forward||FV Emerging Matildas / Football Victoria|
|Abbey LEMON||Forward||Blacktown Spartans / Football NSW|
|Chloe LINCOLN||Goalkeeper||Canberra United Academy / Capital Football|
|Hana LOWRY||Midfielder||Blacktown Spartans on loan from Perth Glory / Football West|
|Matilda McNAMARA||Defender||Adelaide City FC / Football South Australia|
|Jessika NASH||Defender||Blacktown Spartans / Football NSW|
|Jamilla RANKIN||Defender||Blacktown Spartans / NNSW Football|
|Cushla RUE||Defender||Sydney University FC / Football NSW|
|Amy SAYER||Midfielder||Stanford University / Football NSW|
|Ella TONKIN||Defender||Northern Tigers / Football SA|
|Jada WHYMAN||Goalkeeper||Sydney Olympic / Football NSW|
|Paige ZOIS||Midfielder||Bulleen Lions on loan from Melbourne Victory / Football Victoria|