Matildas Duo Nominated for Asia's Top Award
Matildas striking duo Kate Gill and Sarah Walsh are among a list of five players announced overnight by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as contenders for the 2007 AFC Women’s Player of the Year award to be announced in November.
Matildas striking duo Kate Gill and Sarah Walsh are among a list of five players announced overnight by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as contenders for the 2007 AFC Women-s Player of the Year award to be announced in November.
The pair have been a mainstay of the Matildas strike-force throughout this year-s Beijing Olympic qualifiers scoring a combined tally of 22 goals in seven matches. Novocastrian Gill scored a remarkable 13 goals in three consecutive matches as Australia swept past Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, while Sydney-based Walsh has been in equally impressive form bagging nine goals during the qualifying tournament.
The AFC Women-s Player of the Year award will go to the most outstanding women-s player who has performed consistently at AFC and/or FIFA competitions with the top three nominees to be announced in October.
The other three players are DPR Korea captain Kum Suk Ri, veteran Japan midfielder Homare Sawa and Junpen Seesraum of Thailand.
The 2007 Asian Football Confederation Gala Awards will be held in Sydney on November 28, with the AFC Annual Awards for Women to be held in Kuala Lumpur on November 6. Meanwhile, the Matildas will continue preparations for September-s FIFA Women-s World Cup with a five-day training camp in Coffs Harbour which commences tomorrow and concludes on Tuesday.
Coach Tom Sermanni will have an expanded squad of 27 players in camp for what he regards as crucial time together with the World Cup less than three months away.
“The focus now is completely on the World Cup so anytime the squad have together as a group is extremely valuable,” said Matildas coach Tom Sermanni.
“There are still positions in the World Cup squad up for grabs and so there is some intense competition to win a berth.”
A number of young players have been drafted into the squad including former Young Matildas pair Victoria Balomenos and Amy Chapman, plus Australian Under 17 representative Kyah Simon. Other uncapped players in the squad include Elise Kellond-Knight, Ellen Beaumont and Louisa Bisby.
The Matildas squad for the camp in Coffs Harbour is:
Goalkeepers - Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne), Lisa Hartley (Wollongong), Lydia Williams (Canberra), Emma Wirkus (Adelaide)
Defenders - Ellen Beaumont (Brisbane), Rhian Davies (Sydney), Kate McShea (Brisbane), Karla Reuter (Newcastle), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle), Thea Slatyer (Sydney)
Midfielders - Louisa Bisby (Melbourne), Amy Chapman (Canberra), Lauren Colthorpe (Newcastle), Alicia Ferguson (Brisbane), Lana Harch (Brisbane), Elise Kellond-Knight (Brisbane), Collette McCallum (Perth), Amber Neilson (Newcastle), Joanne Peters (Newcastle), Kyah Simon (Sydney), Sally Shipard (Canberra), Danielle Small (Sydney)
Forwards - Victoria Balomenos (Adelaide), Joanne Burgess (Sydney), Kate Gill (Newcastle), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra), Sarah Walsh (Sydney) (current home city)
A number of players are missing from the camp due to injury or unavailability including Dianne Alagich, Heather Garriock, Clare Polkinghorne, Kim Carroll and Lisa DeVanna.
The 2007 FIFA Women-s World Cup to be held in China with Australia drawn against Norway, Canada and Ghana. Australia will open their campaign against Ghana on September 12 in Hangzhou, followed by Norway on September 15 in the same city, before the final group match against Canada on September 19 in Chengdu.