Above: Ischia Brooking (in possession) part of the Hyundai NTC squad in the NPLW WA has been selected for the Junior Matildas. Photo: NPLW WA.
Australia head coach Rae Dower has announced her squad for the Group B 2024 AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Round One Qualifiers held in Mongolia from 24th–28th April 2023.
The Junior Matildas will fly to Ulaanbaatar next week to take on Chinese Taipei and the host nation, Mongolia, with the top two teams progressing to the Round Two Qualifiers in September 2023.
Dower has named a 23-player squad following a series of training camps, elite matches, and international friendlies over the past six months. Six member federations from across Australia are represented in the final selection with Dower noting the difficulty in whittling down the squad.
“The staff and I found the final selection really challenging to be honest and there’s some very good players that have missed out on this occasion and they will get further opportunities at the next stage,” said Dower.
“I’ve never seen our depth at this level be as strong as it is right now, which of course is a good problem to have. The players and their respective club and Member Federation programs have been working very hard on the technical aspects of player development over recent years which you can see is really starting to bear fruit, so I want to thank them for their outstanding efforts.
“In the end, we’ve selected what we believe to be a very balanced squad that will provide the maximum opportunity of exposure to international competition for the players.”
Australia starts their campaign against Mongolia at the MFF Football Centre on Monday 24th April (5pm kick-off AEST). Their final match of the Round One Qualifiers will also be staged at the MFF Football Centre with Chinese Taipei closing out the group play on Friday 28th April (5pm kick-off AEST).
“We’ve been building on how we want to play over these most recent three camps and providing a further layer of information each time,” Dower explained. “For several players, this will be their first trip overseas, in unfamiliar conditions against unfamiliar opponents.”
“To that end, our focus has been firmly on ourselves and our own preparation. We will be expecting three very tough matches against our opponents, who like us want to progress out of these Round One Qualifiers. This is our first step towards achieving our goal of qualifying through to the Asian Cup and then onto the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in 2024,” she concluded.
The Junior Matildas squad members will assemble in Sydney for a three-day domestic pre-camp at Valentine Sports Park from Saturday 15th April to Monday 17th April prior to departing for Mongolia.
|Jade||O’BRIEN||Defender||Football Northern NSW|