The countdown is on to the largest football event the Oceania region has ever seen, and OFC has marked 100 days till the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 (WWC) with an exciting launch of our women and girls’ participation campaign.
This Is How We Football is a way of making sure female players have access to enjoy the beautiful game across Oceania, while celebrating what makes football in the region unique.
OFC Women’s Football manager Emma Evans says that:
“The This Is How We Football programme aims to grow football in the Pacific, specifically focusing on creating fun, safe, environments for teenage girls.”
The programme will start in four countries: Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Each region has set up accessible events in communities where football has not usually been strong among girls. It has four thematic elements:
“One of the key barriers for teenage girls participating in sports is their menstrual cycle. So what we’re trying to do is gain access to sanitary products, and also educating so that girls understand that issue better,” says Evans.
“The beauty of the programme is that we’re trying to break down barriers that we know exist and make the game more accessible to teenage girls. But what we want to see in the long run is families, teachers, parents being more open to their girls playing football. Once they have that support wrapped around them then we hope to see more girls showing up in our clubs and more leagues being created specifically for girls, especially in that 13–18-year-old age bracket.”
The WWC will undoubtedly help raise the profile of women’s football in the Oceania region.
More than 650,000 tickets have been for the WWC sold so far, including almost 150,000 in New Zealand. It’s almost certain that the tournament will set a record for the largest crowd for a women’s football match in New Zealand, with the current record being 16,162, set when North Korea beat the USA in the final of the 2008 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
In fact, there is a very good chance that the overall record for a football attendance in New Zealand will be broken too, if Eden Park reaches capacity for any of its nine fixtures then it will be higher than the 37,034 that attended the intercontinental World Cup playoff between the All Whites and Peru in Wellington in 2017.