Impetus’ Ben Gilby heard from Naomi Chinnama from inside the Young Matildas U20 World Cup training camp during a media event yesterday (26/7/22).
Above: A relaxed Naomi Chinnama speaking to the media yesterday. Photo: Football Australia.
After earning her first call-up to the Young Matildas earlier this year, Naomi Chinnama has gradually found her feet with the U20 Women’s National Team.
Playing her A-League Women’s football with Melbourne City, Chinnama is emerging as one of the next generation of defenders and believes her recent exposure to international football – and potentially the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup will be an important part of her education.
“This is very new for me,” she said to the media. “My first camp was the first New Zealand series camp [in April] and definitely getting used to that environment had to happen pretty quick.”
“I would say I definitely had to learn how to manage myself, to listen to my body and make sure that I remained disciplined.”
Assisting with the transition from club to international youth football has been a familiar face in her City head coach, Rado Vidošić.
The A-League Women’s championship-winning coach is Leah Blayney’s assistant for this FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup campaign and his presence has helped the 18-year-old settle in over the past couple of months.
“It’s great to have a familiar face. It just makes the environment more comfortable. I do think he brings a wealth of knowledge. He has a ton of experience, and he’s definitely a valuable asset to the team.”
“It’s really great working under Leah Blayney. I think she makes us all feel like one big happy team. She knows what she’s doing, and I definitely trust her completely.”
“We go into training feeling like we are nice and prepared. I just really like working under her. Also the rest of the staff have been really good. I know they don’t get enough credit but behind the scenes they’re phenomenal.”
Chinnana highlighted the challenges that the squad are having to face in the build-up to the tournament. “We had 24 hours of travel and now we need to get used to both the time differences and altitude levels, so we haven’t completely settled in yet, but we’re getting there. The first day or so we were walking around like zombies – sleeping when we were supposed to be awake, awake when we had to be sleeping, yeh, not good!” she laughed.
One positive is that the Melbourne City A-League Women player knows her teammates very well. She has been playing NSW NPLW football over the last few months with eight of the Young Matildas squad at Blacktown Spartans. “That’s kinda funny!” Chinnama laughed, “The coach must be going spare, but we’re all getting on really well here, whether we are from Spartans or elsewhere.”
The Young Matildas will commence their FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup campaign on Thursday 11th August 2022 at 12.00pm (AEST) against host nation Costa Rica.
All of Australia’s matches will be broadcast live, free, and in HD on SBS and SBS On Demand with a full studio broadcast.