Canberra United stars Michelle Heyman and Ellie Carpenter have been named in Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic’s final 23-player squad for next month’s 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan, and next Monday’s international friendly match against Thailand at nib Stadium in Perth.
The Westfield Matildas will commence a two-week preparatory camp in Western Australia later today as the Westfield Matildas sharpen their focus towards Jordan 2018 – a tournament which will also serve as Asia’s qualification process for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup which will be held in France.
While the Westfield Matildas will need to overcome some stern opposition in Jordan if they are to lift the AFC Women’s Asian Cup trophy for the second time in their history, the team should enter the tournament with the utmost belief given the international experience and know-how at their disposal. Indeed, Stajcic’s 23-player squad currently has 1,108 ‘A’ international caps between them, at an average of just over 48 caps per player.
Stajcic is looking forward to the upcoming tournament and believes the players are focussed on the challenge ahead.
“The AFC Women’s Asian Cup is the major tournament on our calendar this year and will also be serving as a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier so there is plenty at stake,” said Stajcic
“Looking to the tournament, we certainly do not underestimate any of our opposition. The Korea Republic have made great improvements in recent times and Japan are the defending champions so there will be definitely no complacency on our part.
Heyman and Carpenter were important pieces in Heather Garriock’s Canberra United outfit in Season 11, with Heyman reaching two milestones as she made her 100th Westfield W-League appearance and scored her 50th Canberra United goal.
Carpenter continued to blaze a trail as one of the best young footballers in the country, picking up the December nomination for NAB Young Footballer of the Year for her performances.
“We are also all looking forward to playing our first ever match in Perth against Thailand which should be a good challenge and will allow us to see how we are tracking leading into the tournament,” concluded Stajcic.
The Westfield Matildas will play Japan, Korea Republic and Vietnam in Group B of the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup. The top five teams at the tournament will qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, while the top two teams in each group will advance to the semi-final stage.