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.”
“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:
|NAME||POSITION||CLUB | MEMBER FEDERATION|
|Alexia||APOSTOLAKIS||Defender||Bankstown City Lions FC on loan from Western Sydney Wanderers FC| Football NSW|
|Ava||BRIEDIS||Midfielder||Heidelberg United FC | Football Victoria|
|Claudia||CICCO||Forward||APIA Leichhardt FC | Football NSW|
|Indiana||DOS SANTOS||Midfielder||Football NSW Institute on loan from Sydney FC | Football NSW|
|Jynaya||DOS SANTOS||Forward||Football NSW Institute on loan from Sydney FC | Football NSW|
|Gemma||FERRIS||Defender||Bulls FC Academy | Football NSW|
|Tahlia||FRANCO||Goalkeeper||Football NSW Institute | Football NSW|
|Daniela||GALIC||Midfielder||Future Matildas NSW | Football NSW|
|Sasha||GROVE||Forward||Canberra United FC | Capital Football|
|Shay||HOLLMAN||Midfielder||APIA Leichhardt FC on loan from Sydney FC | Football NSW|
|Kahli||JOHNSON||Forward||Manly United FC | Football NSW|
|Zara||KRUGER||Midfielder||Lions FC | Football Queensland|
|Chloe||LINCOLN||Goalkeeper||Canberra United FC | Football NSW|
|Maya||LOBO||Defender||Macarthur Rams | Football NSW|
|Tijan||MCKENNA||Defender||Heidelberg United FC | Football West|
|Alana||MURPHY||Midfielder||Blacktown Spartans FC | Football Victoria|
|Emilia||MURRAY||Forward||Northern Tigers FC | Football South Australia|
|Jessika||NASH||Defender||Bulls FC Academy | Football NSW|
|Ella||O’GRADY||Forward||Football Queensland-QAS | Football Queensland|
|Sienna||SAVESKA||Forward||Football NSW Institute | Football NSW|
|Anika||STAJCIC||Forward||Football NSW Institute | Football NSW|
|Naomi||THOMAS-CHINNAMA||Defender||Blacktown Spartans FC | Football Victoria|
|Grace||WILSON||Goalkeeper||SA NTC | Football South Australia|