Home Sports “They made fun of us, the 2024 World Cup will be our consecration”

“They made fun of us, the 2024 World Cup will be our consecration”

by admin
“They made fun of us, the 2024 World Cup will be our consecration”

As a proud “kiwi”, I count the minutes left until the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Oceania next year to show on the world stage that women’s football is finally mature.

I still remember a speech I gave in New Caledonia over ten years ago – shortly after taking over the leadership of the Football Federation of Samoa – in which I openly described the challenges and gender discrimination I faced.

I remembered how I was regularly accused of having no idea what I was talking about, how my ideas and suggestions were constantly ignored, and how I was ridiculed for just being a woman.

The women’s game has also faced many obstacles starting from the lack of infrastructure to the struggles to access adequate facilities, without forgetting the discrimination that women and girls suffer solely for playing football.

But look at us now, look at where the women have gotten to.

Last July, the English Lionesses won the Women’s Euro at Wembley, the temple of football, in front of over 87,000 spectators and a television audience that, in Great Britain alone, was over 17 million people. And this in a country where women’s football was banned until the 1970s.

The Italian women’s football team has once again ensured its participation in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, finishing at the top of its group and directly qualifying for the finals to be held next year in Australia and New Zealand.

Papua New Guinea has earned a place in the interconfederal play-offs for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in the Oceanic Cup of Nations, recently held in Suva, Fiji. Next year will be a real celebration of women’s football and we are really looking forward to seeing it go “Beyond Greatness” in 2023.

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As a former footballer of the Samoan national team, of course I am interested in this competition, but seeing the emotion, passion and pride of the players during the national anthems, testifies to me the importance of why I and many others have spent so much for the growth of the women’s movement and make it authoritative, bringing it out of the shadow of the immensely better known men’s football.

For this reason we must take advantage of the interest that is observed today around the world in women’s football starting with next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

It will be a fantastic opportunity for the whole world to admire the great involvement that women’s football arouses in Australia and New Zealand. I am sure that the Italian fans will be welcomed with enthusiasm.

But on top of that, next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup – the largest ever, with 32 teams from around the world – will be an opportunity to take women’s football even higher, contributing to emancipation and empowerment. participation of an increasing number of women and girls.

Sport must become a platform to help women establish themselves as true leaders and express their full potential. Too often we have suffered the stereotype that women are not up to par, but through sport we can counteract and change these discriminatory perceptions.

When I gave my speech in New Caledonia ten years ago, I talked about what gave me the strength to move forward. I explained that the smile on the face of a little girl who scored her first goal, seeing her jump for joy with her companions, hearing her mom and dad shout proudly along the sideline, justified every effort.

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And this is exactly the same feeling I feel today when I think of the girls who will attend the matches next year and who will have the opportunity to watch the stars of the Italian national team, such as Cristina Girelli or Barbara Bonansea, go on stage in the biggest of stages. .

Our journey has been long, but next year’s World Cup will be the definitive consecration of women’s football.

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