Coffs Harbour to host Matildas Olympic qualifiers
The Australian Women’s national team, the Matildas, will call the NSW Coastal city of Coffs Harbour home for their qualification matches for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The Australian Women-s national team, the Matildas, will call the NSW Coastal city of Coffs Harbour home for their qualification matches for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The Australian team must overcome Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Asia-s top-ranked team DPR Korea (North Korea) if they are to appear in their third successive Olympic football tournament.
The Matildas will play all three of their crucial home qualification matches at the BCU International Stadium, and also spend a significant amount of time in camp in Coffs Harbour prior to this September-s FIFA Women-s World Cup in China.
The Matildas will debut in Coffs Harbour against Hong Kong on Saturday 7 April, followed by DPR Korea on Sunday 10 June and the final home qualifying match against Chinese Taipei on Sunday 12 August.
The Matildas are currently ranked at an all-time high of 14 in the FIFA Women-s World Rankings on the back of a second-placed finish in last year-s AFC Women-s Asian Cup and their qualification for the World Cup. The Matildas also recorded comprehensive victories last month against Myanmar, Uzbekistan and Chinese Taipei in the preliminary stage of Olympic qualifying.
Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive Ben Buckley says: “We are very pleased that Coffs Harbour will host the Matildas in their vital qualification matches and on behalf of the FFA I would like to sincerely thank the Coffs Harbour City Council, and also the NSW Government for their continuing support for football in this state.
“The last few years have been wonderful for Australian football and the Matildas have played a significant role with their on-field success, notably in qualifying for the FIFA Women-s World Cup.
“The training facilties and stadium in Coffs Harbour are first class and will provide the team with every opportunity for success in these crucial matches.”
“Coffs Harbour has had the pleasure of hosting the Matildas in 2001 with their last visit attracting a crowd in excess of 5,000 spectators,” said Coffs Harbour City Councillor Bill Palmer.
“With these matches being crucial qualification matches for the Beijing Olympics, I-m sure we-re going to see even more supporters out at the BCU International Stadium for their upcoming internationals.
“With our very own Matilda, Jenna Tristram, being a likely part of the squad, I-m positive the community will have even more reason to get behind the team for the games against Hong Kong, North Korea and Chinese Taipei.”
NSW Premier, Morris Iemma welcomed the news that football fans in the region would have the opportunity to see Australia-s elite female footballers in such important matches.
"The NSW Government, through its Major Events Board, is pleased to support Coffs Harbour City Council in bringing the Matildas' 2008 Olympic Games qualification matches to Coffs Harbour, one of the jewels of the NSW North Coast,” Mr Iemma said.
“The Matildas have already qualified for this year's Women's World Cup in China and their recent performances have seen them deservedly attain their highest-ever position in the FIFA world rankings.
“I am sure the Coffs Harbour community will strongly support the Matildas as they strive to qualify for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in a group that includes Asia's top women's team - DPR Korea.
“The Government's support for the Matildas' Olympic Games home qualification matches is recognition of the growth of women's football and part of its four-year partnership with Football Federation Australia to make New South Wales the home of football in Australia.
“This includes the Socceroos' prime international matches such as Asian Cup qualifiers, World Cup qualifiers and playoffs plus friendly internationals such as the Uruguay match on 2 June."
BCU International Stadium has hosted a number of national team matches over the years notably the Socceroos- preliminary qualification matches for the 2001 FIFA World Cup. Coffs Harbour is also the current home of the National Youth Championships for both boys and girls.
In other news, SBS has reached agreement with Football Federation Australia for the broadcast rights of the Matildas final round of Olympic Qualifying matches to be played in Coffs Harbour.
Highlights of the Matildas match against Hong Kong will be shown in “The World Game” on Sunday 8 April with LIVE coverage of their matches against North Korea on Sunday 10 June and Chinese Taipei on Sunday 12 August. Both LIVE matches will be shown as “The World Game” weekly Football Feature from 3:00pm.
SBS continues to support women-s football with the network also providing coverage of the 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup, from China 10-30 September. The Matildas have already qualified for this prestigious event, taking the first qualifying slot in the Asian Football Confederation ahead of highly-regarded rivals Japan, Korea DPR and Korea Republic. SBS- broadcast of the Women-s World Cup will include the LIVE coverage of the opening ceremony, semi finals, final and all Matildas- matches.
“This year audiences will be treated to a vast array of women-s football on free-to-air television and we are very proud to be contributing to the coverage of this sport,” said SBS Head of Sport, Ken Shipp.
“This is a fantastic show of support by SBS for the Matildas and is set to continue with SBS- commitment to the FIFA Women-s World Cup later this year,” said FFA Head of Commercial Operations, John O-Sullivan.
Australia v Hong Kong Saturday 7 April, 3pm BCU International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Australia v North Korea Sunday 10 June, 3pm BCU International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Australia v Chinese Taipei Sunday 12 August, 3pm BCU International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Tickets will go on sale to the general public from 9am (AEST) Monday 26 March, 2007. Tickets are available from Coffs Harbour City Council-s central ticketing system, located at the Jetty Memorial Theatre, phone: 02 6652 8088 Mon-Fri 10.00am - 4.00pm, online via http://www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au or at the gate on match day.