FIFA’s half a million dollar plus funding boost will ‘super-charge’ the women’s game in Australia and could propel the Matildas to world champions in the next decade, say women’s football official.
On a huge day for the women’s game in Australia, it was announced on Monday the FFA have received FIFA Goal Project funding of $A536k ($US500) over the next two years.
The funds will go a long way to developing the game at all levels around the country and - following a similar blueprint to Japan - Highwood has no doubt it will only benefit the national teams in the future.
“I’m very ambitious and believe in the next 10 years it’s possible to lift the World Cup in the women’s game if we do the right things and put the right structures in place,” Emma Highwood, FFA’s Head of Community and Women’s Football Emma Highwood, told www.footballaustralia.com.au.
“Japan have been a great leader for us in Asia and the fact they won the World Cup is fantastic and it gives us the inspiration a team coming from Asia can do that.
“You look at Japan their technique is phenomenal. We’re developing a skill acquisition program which is all about developing technique at a young age group. The strategy today is slightly following suit with Japan which is all about ensuring we identify players younger and provide training and pathways to become future Matildas.”
FIFA Executive Committee Member and FFA Board Member Moya Dodd believes the announcement is a real turning point in women’s football in Australia.
“When I was a kid playing football you were like a circus freak, playing a boys game. These days it’s normal to go out and see a whole lot of girls playing every weekend and it’s fantastic the growth the game has seen,” Dodd said.
“I remember in my playing days we felt like Japan was on par with us and we weren’t the leading football nations back then.
“They’ve done extremely well by having a well-functioning system from the bottom to the top. This system is the way you produce a consistent, high-performing national team.”
Sydney FC star and women’s football development officer Renee Rollason added it would be perfect for the women’s game to follow the Japanese model to help them thrive.
“You look at Japan they’ve been at consecutive World Cups and Olympics and got gold medals,” she said.
“Australia, we haven’t got to that level yet but if we follow in their footsteps, that’s the stepping stone we can get to.
“We play against them in Asian Cups, seeing them play and how technically good they are is something we can aspire to for the next generation coming through.”