The Illawarra Stingrays NSW Premier League team is set to take on the Australian Women's National team, the Matildas on Friday night at Win Stadium ahead of the Women's Olympic Qualifying round in Japan.
The match will be a training match for the Matildas, and their last training session on home soil before they leave for Olympics qualifiers in Osaka, Japan, a 10-day tournament whereby they’ll face the hosts first up, 2015 FIFA World Cup runners up, Japan.
Along with Japan, who were responsible for knocking the Australians out of 2015 FIFA World Cup, the Matildas are also set to face DPR Korea, Korea Republic, Vietnam and China P.R in the round robin tournament, in which the two top countries at the end of the competition will claim a place at the Olympic Games in Rio later this year.
Stingrays stars Michelle Heyman and Caitlin Cooper are among the 22-strong Matildas squad in camp with coach Allen Stajcic to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers and are expected to play against their club mates at Win Stadium.
The Matildas squad also features the likes of Kyah Simon, Alanna Kennedy, Lisa De Vanna, Emily Van Egmond (currently based in Germany), Stephanie Catley and Lydia Williams.
Stingrays head coach Earle Canvin said he was happy the Stingrays are to host the match.
“The Wollongong-based club was extremely proud to be able to help the Matildas in their campaign to secure a place for Australia among the 16 nations competing in the Women's Olympic Football tournament in Rio, by facilitating this game”.
“Its a great opportunity for the Stingrays to show their support and the support from our region for the Matildas, to have two current players involved Caitlin Cooper and Michelle Heyman and hopefully a returning Caitlin Foord would give our region three players in the squad,” Canvin said.
The game would not be possible without the support of local business, the Wollongong Wolves, Football South Coast and the WIN Sports and Entertainment Centres. The Illawarra Stingrays greatly appreciate their commitment to the Stingrays and Women's Football.
Admission is free, so come along and support the Matildas and the Illawarra Stingrays. Kick off is at 6.30pm, WIN Stadium.
Players from both squads will be available on the completion of the game for photos and autographs.
Matildas match schedule
Pool A: Japan, DPR Korea, Matildas, China P.R., Korea Republic, Vietnam
- Monday 29 February. Kick-Off: 7:35pm local time (9:35pm AEDT)
- Wednesday 2 March. Kick-Off: 4:35pm local time (6:35pm AEDT)
- Friday 4 March. Kick-Off: 7:35pm local time (9:35pm AEDT)
- Monday 7 March. Kick-Off: 7:35pm local time (9:35pm AEDT)
- Wednesday 9 March. Kick-Off: 7:35pm local time (9:35pm AEDT)
All matches LIVE nationally 9:30pm AEDT on 7mate