Local youngsters Josephine Dubbert (Cooma Tigers) and Emma Ilijoski (Canberra United Academy) have been selected in Rae Dower’s Junior Matildas squad for the upcoming AFC U/16 Women’s Championship 2019 Qualifiers to take place in Kyrgyzstan in September.
Stefanie Lejins was also selected as a shadow player for the squad before they head overseas.
Six locals have been part of the camp setup at the AIS in recent weeks, with the above trio joined by Alexia Forner, Isabella Barac and Elke Aitolu as well.
Capital Football Technical Director Scott O’Donell said it was a great achievement from both girls and a result of their hard work.
“Everyone here at Capital Football is very proud of Emma and Josephine for being selected for the Australian team that will participate in the AFC U-16 Women’s Championships that will take place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan between 15 – 23 September,” he said.
“They have both worked extremely hard to make the squad and their selection is thoroughly deserved.”
“It is also important to highlight that both girls have made the squad via different pathways. Emma has been part of the CUA squads for the last few years playing in the NPLW, while Josephine has opted to play for Tigers FC in the U14 boys NPL.”
“Both Josephine and Emma represented ACT at this year’s NTC held in Canberra in July this year and on behalf of Capital Football, I wish the girls and the team all the very best in Kyrgyzstan.”
Australia will compete in Group D of the 2019 AFC U16 Women’s Championship Qualifiers, and will come up against Palestine, Indonesia, hosts Kyrgyz Republic, and Chinese Taipei during their time in Bishkek.
Finishing first in Group D would guarantee the Westfield Junior Matildas a place at next year’s AFC U16 Women’s Championship, which will be held in Thailand.
Next year’s AFC U16 Women’s Championship will double as the qualification competition for the 2020 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in a yet to be determined nation.
Head Coach Dower said she’s excited to lead the group – which includes players as young as 13 – to central Asia.
“I’m really excited to announce the team to take the first step towards qualifying for the 2020 FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup,” said Dower. “We’ve been able to see them [the players] play at the National Training Centre and National Youth Championships, and alongside each other over two high intensity camps at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).”
“We’ve selected a balanced team with plenty of skill and creativity and we’re really looking forward to our first game [against Palestine] on September 17. Some of the players are still only 13-years-old so the potential that they have is enormous. The challenge for us all is to nurture, guide, and develop them all year around as the qualification period goes beyond the next 12 months.
“The depth and quality of players across this age group is increasing exponentially and it is a real privilege to be able to help them take this step towards achieving their goal of one day become a Westfield Matilda,” concluded Dower.
Following their first match against Palestine on September 17, the Westfield Junior Matildas will play Indonesia on September 19. A challenge against hosts Kyrgyz Republic awaits on September 21, before the team rounds out its, hopefully successful, qualification campaign against Chinese Taipei on September 23.