Female contenders reflect on past year
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With the 2010 FIFA Ballon D’Or Gala just five hours away, the nominees for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football were presented to the media in Zurich’s Kongresshaus.

Looking relaxed before the big event, Fatmire Bajramaj, Marta and Birgit Prinz together with Silvia Neid and Pia Sundhage took to the stage, with Maren Meinert, the other nominee for Coach of the Year, expecting a baby back in her homeland of Germany.

The 30 minute chat saw the five contenders answer questions about their feelings on being nominated, together with their memories of the past year.

Fatmire Bajramaj
I hadn’t even considered the possibility of being nominated; I didn’t believe it could happen, so this experience is incredibly special. This could be a once in a lifetime chance and I’m extremely happy to be here. 2010 is a year I’ll never forget. It was a year my club won the German championship and the UEFA Women’s Champions League and I personally made a huge step forward.

Marta
As athletes, it’s a privilege to be here again. I know of so many other players who would love to be here. It’s a real reward. Women’s football is developing rapidly and I would say that the players sitting alongside me now fully deserve to be here. 2010 stands out for me because I won the title with my club side and Brazil qualified for the Women’s World Cup in Germany, which I’m really looking forward to playing in later this year.

Birgit Prinz
I’m extremely happy to be here again, even though it’s not my first time. For me, 2010 has been a transitional year in terms of club football and it was probably a more successful year for the German national team.

Silvia Neid
This is the first time this award had been given, so I’m proud and happy to be here. I’m sure this will be a lovely day and one I’ll spend in the company of great people. I don’t know if I deserve to be here, but I accept the nomination gladly. In terms of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, there are huge expectations for my team, but we’ll work hard and prepare intensely to try and achieve our dreams of winning. We need to enjoy what we’re doing and with trust in each other, we can achieve a lot. However, it’s not important if we win or lose. What is important is how this Women’s World Cup is received in Germany and elsewhere. We want it to do great things for women’s football.

Pia Sundhage
It’s absolutely amazing and fantastic to be nominated – and I hope that from this nomination my team will gain confidence. I’m sitting alongside people from Germany and Brazil, two countries that love football and I’m really honoured to be nominated alongside them. Women’s football and its players are improving year upon year. Twenty years ago, no-one really cared about women’s football, but looking at the crowds now, we have touched people’s hearts. A World Cup year is another great way to touch more people – and it’s going to be a lot of fun.