Blayney names Young Matildas squad for Asian Cup Qualifiers


Above: Young Matildas head coach Leah Blayney, who named her squad for next month’s vital qualifiers today. Photo: Football Australia.

Leah Blayney has named a 23-player squad as the Young Matildas continue their 2024 AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup qualifying campaign in Vietnam next month. 

The Round Two Qualifiers have seen Australia drawn in Group A alongside hosts Vietnam, Iran, and Lebanon with the matches to be played between 3rd and 11th June 2023. 

For the two top nations, the prize will be qualification for the 2024 AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup to be held in Uzbekistan from 3rd–16th March 2024. 

Two changes have been made to the squad that progressed to Round Two. Australia is boosted by the return of Melbourne City FC defender Naomi Chinnama after injury kept her out of the Round 1 fixtures. Meanwhile, recent A-League Women’s revelation Indiana Dos Santos joins her older sister Jynana in the U-20 national team for the first time. 

Eighteen players featured in the recent A-League Women’s season including four from 2023 Premiers and Champions, Sydney FC. Six different Member Federations are featured including several players from regional Australia and five players are currently participating in the U-23 training camp in Brisbane.

Young Matildas’ head coach Leah Blayney said: “This squad recognises the players who not only performed for us in the Round One Qualifiers but also those who have recorded consistent performances in the recent A-League Women’s season.”

Above: Perth Glory’s Tijan McKenna, one of the players selected by Leah Blayney today for the Young Matildas squad. Photo: Perth Glory.

“It was once again a challenging decision as the quality of players across the nation is continuing to increase as witnessed from our scouting at national team training camps, the National Premier Leagues, and Elite Matches.

“We have worked to ensure we have a good balance across the squad not just in terms of positional depth, but also in finding the best combinations, whose player profiles best match our playing style.”

The 23 players and staff will assemble for a domestic camp in Sydney from 22nd May before departing for Phu Tho, Vietnam. 

Australia will open their fixtures against Lebanon at Việt Trì Stadium before days later taking on Iran. Their Group A round-robin matches will be completed in front of a vocal home crowd against Vietnam.

“The progression of this group has been pleasing but we are all mindful that there will be an increase in intensity for Round Two, with all nations acutely aware that AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup qualification is on the line,” Blayney continued. 

“These matches will see us face teams with good technical foundations, that will be well organised defensively and provide active threats going forward. Internally our focus will be negating their strengths while diversifying our own style to continue adding more dimension to our game,” she concluded. 

Young Matildas Squad for second round AFC U-20 Women’s Asian Cup Qualification:
AlexiaAPOSTOLAKISDefenderBankstown City Lions FC on loan from Western Sydney Wanderers FC| Football NSW
AvaBRIEDISMidfielderHeidelberg United FC | Football Victoria
ClaudiaCICCOForwardAPIA Leichhardt FC | Football NSW
IndianaDOS SANTOSMidfielderFootball NSW Institute on loan from Sydney FC | Football NSW
JynayaDOS SANTOSForwardFootball NSW Institute on loan from Sydney FC | Football NSW
GemmaFERRISDefenderBulls FC Academy | Football NSW
TahliaFRANCOGoalkeeperFootball NSW Institute | Football NSW
DanielaGALICMidfielderFuture Matildas NSW | Football NSW
SashaGROVEForwardCanberra United FC | Capital Football
ShayHOLLMANMidfielderAPIA Leichhardt FC on loan from Sydney FC | Football NSW
KahliJOHNSONForwardManly United FC | Football NSW
ZaraKRUGERMidfielderLions FC | Football Queensland
ChloeLINCOLNGoalkeeperCanberra United FC | Football NSW
MayaLOBODefenderMacarthur Rams | Football NSW
TijanMCKENNADefenderHeidelberg United FC | Football West
AlanaMURPHYMidfielderBlacktown Spartans FC | Football Victoria
EmiliaMURRAYForwardNorthern Tigers FC | Football South Australia
JessikaNASHDefenderBulls FC Academy | Football NSW
EllaO’GRADYForwardFootball Queensland-QAS | Football Queensland
SiennaSAVESKAForwardFootball NSW Institute | Football NSW
AnikaSTAJCICForwardFootball NSW Institute | Football NSW
NaomiTHOMAS-CHINNAMADefenderBlacktown Spartans FC | Football Victoria
GraceWILSONGoalkeeperSA NTC | Football South Australia

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