Westfield Young Matildas primed for AFC U19 Women's Championship qualifiers

The Westfield Young Matildas face a big challenge in Lebanon in the first phase of qualification for the 2019 AFC U19 Women's Championship to be held in Thailand.

Gary van Egmond has named a 23-player squad and will hope his side can win their three games against Mongolia, Lebanon and Hong Kong in unfamiliar conditions. 

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Players like Princess Ibini, Amy Sayer and Rachel Lowe have senior international experience and will lead the Westfield Young Matildas into battle. 

 

Our history

The Westfield Young Matildas have qualified seven times for the AFC U19 Women's Championship and with a squad comprising of promising Westfield W-League players, van Egmond will want to bring the best out of his talented squad.

Most recently in 2017, the team finished second in their group but failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup following a 3-0 loss to North Korea. 

The Westfield Young Matildas finished third in their group in 2015, followed by consecutive fifth-placed finishes in 2011 and 2013 when the format was one six-team group. 

AFC U19 Women's Championship qualification

There are two stages of qualification to the 2019 AFC U19 Women's Championship. The first hurdle is these three fixtures against Mongolia, Lebanon and Hong Kong, where first place, along with the two best runners-up, will progress to the second stage of qualification in April 2019. 

After that, the second round will involve two groups, where the top two teams in each progress to the AFC U19 Women's Championship.

Aside from wanting to win silverware, this tournament is also of significance as three out of the eight teams will qualify for the 2020 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup.

The host for the 2020 tournament will be announced early that year. 

rachel lowe
Rachel Lowe in action for the Young Matildas against Thailand in 2018.

Opponents

None of the Westfield Young Matildas opponents have qualified for the AFC U19 Women's Championships, however mixed weather conditions and unfamiliar surroundings will present their own challenges for van Egmond's squad. 

Mongolia's senior female national team gained full FIFA status in mid-2018, while Lebanon and Hong Kong, despite having been around longer, are yet to make an appearance at either an AFC Women's Championship or FIFA Women's World Cup.

Westfield Young Matildas to watch

Princess Ibini is by far one of the most experienced members of this squad. The 18-year-old is set to embark on her fourth Westfield W-League season for Sydney FC and has three senior international caps. 

Ibini's pace will make her the perfect weapon in van Egmond's front three, and her powerful shooting will no doubt see her wreak havoc in Beirut.

Amy Sayer may be younger than Ibini but is equally impressive. Just over a month out from her 17th birthday, Sayer will be Ibini's club teammate this year at Sydney FC and made her first international appearance for the Westfield Matildas in their Tournament of Nations fixture against Japan.

The Westfield Young Matildas opponents in stage one of qualification for the AFC U19 Women's Championship will also have their hands full trying to contain Rachel Lowe.

The Western Sydney Wanderers young gun most recently played for the Football NSW Institute in the NPL NSW Women's First Grade competition, bagging 10 goals in 23 games. 

Lowe made her Westfield Matildas debut in Australia's 2-0 win over China in the Algarve Cup.

How to watch

All three games will be streamed LIVE and FREE on the Westfield Matildas website!

The link to the streams will be available on the morning of each matchday. 

Fixtures

Westfield Young Matildas v Mongolia 
Date: 
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Venue: Jounieh Municipal Stadium, Beirut
Kick-off:11.30am (local); 7.30pm (AEDT)

Lebanon v Westfield Young Matildas
Date: 
Friday, 26 October 2018
Venue: Jounieh Municipal Stadium, Beirut
Kick-off:3.30pm (local); 11.30pm (AEDT)

Westfield Young Matildas v Hong Kong
Date: 
Sunday, 28 October 2018
Venue: Jounieh Municipal Stadium, Beirut
Kick-off: 11.30am (local); 7.30pm (AEDT)

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This article was originally published on the Westfield Matildas website.
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