The Football Ferns will have their alarms set for early tomorrow morning to find out if the As One bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 is successful.
The FIFA Council is set to release their decision on who will host the global tournament sometime after 4am NZT on Friday morning.
Ahead of the announcement, a handful of Football Ferns joined some youngsters at Mt Roskill Primary School in Auckland on Thursday afternoon to run them through drills and sign autographs.
The bid between Australia and New Zealand is going up against the one from Colombia after Japan withdrew their application to host the event earlier this week.
The joint submission has been praised in the lead-up to the decision and has the backing of both governments; the Australia and New Zealand bid scored 4.1 out of 5 in FIFA’s Bid Evaluation Report, while the Colombian Football Association bid scored 2.8.
Football Ferns goalkeeper Erin Nayler returned from playing for Bordeaux in France as the coronavirus pandemic took hold a few months ago.
She’s based herself north of Auckland and has been training with a men’s club side after keeping fit during New Zealand’s lockdown with a range of outdoor activities.
The 28-year-old said she would set her alarm for 4am to get the FIFA Women’s World Cup news.
“It’s going to be super exciting and we do have a great chance, so tomorrow it will be exciting to find out,” Nayler said.
“Over this side of the world, football is not too big, and Europe usually get most of the events like this so to have this event here, the biggest event in women’s sport, would just be incredible.
“Australia and New Zealand are two of the biggest sporting nations and even though that might not be football yet, I’m sure we’ll get there.”
Midfielder Paige Satchell said she would also set an early alarm.
“I think it’s going to be a bit of a nervous sleep; probably get up a few times in the night just checking the time and things,” the 22-year-old said.
“But I really hope we get a positive outcome. I think it will be an amazing opportunity for women’s football and, personally myself, just to have my family and friends come and watch us play on home soil.”
Satchell had been playing for SC Sand in Germany this season but returned to New Zealand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Her next move might be to a club in England but in the interim she has been splitting time between Auckland and staying with her parents in Rotorua.