Utsav Shakya, Kathmandu
The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 co-host, Australia, secured a berth in the round of 16 with a stunning 4-0 victory against Canada on Monday.
The match was a must-win for the Matildas, as anything less would have resulted in an early exit from the tournament. After starting their World Cup campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland, Australia faced a setback with a 3-2 defeat against Nigeria in their second outing. However, they bounced back in style, crushing Canada 4-0 to top Group ‘B’ accumulating 6 points, and advanced to the knockout stage.
The star of the match was Hayley Raso, who scored twice, alongside goals from Mary Fowler and Stephanie Catley at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, ensuring the co-hosts’ dream of advancing further in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 remained alive.
To witness the Matildas playing the most important match in their 45-year history; the Australian Embassy in Nepal organized a live screening event at a hotel in the capital. Australian Ambassador to Nepal, Felicity Volk, celebrated Australia’s heroic victory with the Nepal National Women’s Football Team.
The event was graced by the presence of Pankaj Bikram Nembang, the President of the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), ANFA General Secretary Kiran Rai, ANFA Ex-Co Members, the Nepal National Women’s Football Team, U20 Women’s Team, and others.
During the event, Ambassador Volk emphasized that the Women’s World Cup 2023 presents an opportunity to advance gender equality in football and all fields. She said, “So this Women’s World Cup 2023 is not just a celebration of the great sport of soccer, it’s not just a celebration of the skills and achievements of the teams and players, but it’s also an opportunity to advance gender equality in football and in all fields.”
Volk further elaborated, “In all the places women compete for equal treatment, recognition, and the opportunity to contribute to their communities and countries, whether that be through politics, business, academia, civil society, culture, or sports.”
This edition of the Women’s World Cup is historic as it marks the first time the tournament is hosted in the Southern Hemisphere and the first to feature 32 nations.
By hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Australia Football Federation aims to achieve the goal of having 600,000 Australian women and girls actively playing football by 2027.
According to Volk, this initiative not only provides girls and women with access to team sports but also helps them cultivate critical skills like confidence, leadership, and problem-solving, which are valuable in both their personal and professional lives. Moreover, seeing female athletes overcoming adversity and challenging stereotypes in sports can inspire girls to believe in their own potential and abilities, reinforcing their fundamental right to be equal everywhere.
Ambassador Volk urged everyone to advocate for equality in sports and to ensure that local governments and schools provide equal resources for sports to all genders. If they don’t, she encouraged individuals to speak up. Furthermore, she advised players to inquire whether their clubs, associations, and administrators offer equal resources and activities for sportspeople of all genders, ensuring that girls and boys are equally welcomed in clubs, on the field, and in competitions.
In concluding her speech, Volk motivated the women’s national team players, stating, “This tournament is a reminder of what women can achieve. It is also a call to action. Everyone in this room has a collective responsibility to do more. No country can do it alone. As the incredible women athletes in this room know well, we can succeed if we work together as a team.”