Women’s Football In The Sportlight
The first ever Com-Unity courses on women’s football were recently held in Chile and New Zealand. Interest in the courses was high. Overall, the outcome was very positive.
A few months ago, hardly anyone in Chile was aware that their country was about to stage the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2008. The overwhelming majority of people in this long, narrow country on the west coast of South America did not even know Chile had a women’s team.
When Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the long-time head of the FIFA Development Office in Asuncion (Paraguay), was elected President of the Chilean football association (FFCH) and chairman of the Chilean association of professional football (ANFP) in November 2006, he announced his intention to improve the standing of the women’s game in his home country. Along with his allies, the former sports journalist, author and general manager of respected Chilean club Universidad Catolica is well on the way to achieving his goal.
When a FIFA Corn-Unity seminar on women’s football took place on the grounds of the FFCH in June, even the host was amazed. The huge marquee that had been erected especially for the event was packed to bursting point. Some 400 people — the biggest ever turnout for a Com-Unity seminar — flocked to listen to speakers from across the world.
“We were convinced the Com-Unity seminar would be a success,” said Mayne-Nicholls. “But the end result was far beyond our expectations.” Tony DiCicco, who coached the US women’s team to success at the 1999 Women’s World Cup, was also delighted: “A lot can be achieved here, I’m absolutely certain of that.”