Expectations are high says star midfielder
Westfield Young Matildas captain in waiting Tameka Butt knows the expectations are high for the team as they head to China for the AFC U19 Women’s Championship.
Westfield Young Matildas captain in waiting Tameka Butt knows the expectations are high for the team as they head to China for the AFC U19 Women-s Championship.
The final squad of 23 players gathered in Sydney for a final two-day camp before heading off to Korea for a week long pre-tournament camp, where they will Korea Republic in two final warm ups game before heading to China.
Butt, who was captain of the team on their tour of Europe in May and June, is one of several players to have played senior international football and all indications are this team could do well at next years FIFA U20 Women-s World Cup in Germany, if they can overcome a tough qualifying tournament early next month.
On the tour in Italy, the team went through its series of friendly internationals undefeated and included a 3-0 win over Germany, next year-s tournament hosts.
“Yeah it (the tour) has raised expectations,” Tameka said while in Sydney recently.
“When we got home from that tour everybody was congratulating us just on that game specifically.
“We basically stepped up a level in that game and we need to keep it at that level and that-s a pretty high level. If we keep it at that level, we-ll go pretty far.”
The win over Germany, one of the powerhouses of women-s football, was a significant confidence booster for the team, which has carried through among the girls in the three camps since then.
“We knew to expect a hard game and that we would have to fight hard for everything.
“The first half we really just sat back and watched how they played and then in the second half, we really gave it to them and got on top of them and I think we did really well.
“From a results point of view we were pretty successful and we did everything on and off the pitch together and we all really gelled well.
“It-s really important that everyone gets along and that we are not in each other-s faces all the time and I think all these girls are here for the football and want to get along well with one another.
“We still had a lot of stuff to work on, but we-ve definitely had a good preparation from that tour.”
Butt, who was a key member of the successful Queensland Roar team that won the inaugural Westfield W-League competition is prepared for a qualifying tournament however and knows there are no guarantees despite their good form.
“It-s a very tough group, with three of the top teams in the competition in that group.
“A few of the girls are new to playing overseas and playing in these hot and humid conditions, but we-ve done a lot of work here in Australia in heat chambers, so I think we-ll be well prepared when we get over there.”
The girls leave on Wednesday for Seoul, Korea where they will play two matches against Korea Republic on Saturday and Monday.
The AFC U19 Women-s Championships will be held in Wuhan in China from August 1-10, with Australia-s first match against Japan on Saturday August 1. They will be followed by matches against China (August 3) and Chinese Taipei (August 5).