Sep
02
2007
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Women’s World Cup in China from outside

Women’s World Cup in China from outside

“Some will cope, others will find it extremely difficult,” is the verdict of New Zealand women’s football representative and women’s World Star Player Maia Jackman when asked about how she thinks players will fare in China at the FIFA Women’s World Cup later this year. Having played as a guest player in 2002 for club side Dalian Shide in the Chinese Football Association’s women’s professional league, she is certainly well placed to judge how the culture and environment of this fascinating country will have an impact on individual and team performances in the eagerly awaited milestone event of women’s football.
In Maia’s opinion, the greatest challenges will come by way of adapting to the heat, and also the food. “It can be very hot and smoggy still in September – I remember once playing in 42 degrees at that time of the year. Players really need to hydrate well and rest a lot more than they would normally. Foot is another big issue for foreigners playing in China because while it is delicious, it is so completely different. When I was there, bread and milk were really the only familiar sight. A lot of the time I had no idea what I was eating even though it tasted great. Teams need to be prepared for this if they want to experience the familiar comforts at home.”
Coming from a country with a population of only 4 million, another aspect she should very different about China was the sheer number of people in the streets and on the roads. “The population is an incredible 1.5 billion and there is so little space available, so you get bumped everywhere you go. It is a bit disconnecting at first but you get used to it, and certainly any difficulties one experiences in China are easily outweighed by the friendliness of the local people. The teams and fans that go to the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year will be won over by them, especially those who go to the smaller cities. For all of those who attend, it will be a great event, I am sure.”