Though the women’s game in Chile boasted little in the way of infrastructure as recently as 2007, a solid developmental project designed to boost the sport and tied in with the hosting of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2008 has rapidly borne fruit. And after that crop of youngsters won the hearts of football followers thanks to some brave and committed displays, it has opened the doors for many of their countrywomen to follow in their footsteps.
At the helm of Las Rojitas at February’s South American Women’s U-17 Championship was Ronnie Radonich, who guided his young charges to the top of a first-round group containing Venezuela, Argentina, reigning continental champs Colombia, and Uruguay without tasting defeat. An emphatic 4-1 semi-final victory over Paraguay followed, though hosts Brazil proved far too strong when inflicting a heavy 7-0 reverse in the final.
After 16 months of hard work and dedication from everyone involved prior to the Sudamericano 2010, Radonich’s side become the first Chilean women’s team to reach a FIFA competition without qualifying automatically as hosts. “I’m very pleased with the work we’ve put in. We’re staying very humble and taking this success in our stride,” said the Chilean supremo. However, striker Yanara Aedo was in more bullish mood: “We want to go to the World Cup in the hope that we’re not just going there to take part, but that we can aim for the very top. In fact, we want to go for the title in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Facts and figures
Yanara Aedo, Francisca Moroso
In South American qualifying for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010, Chile secured their involvement after picking up 3 wins and 2 draws before losing the title decider against Brazil. Las Rojitas scored 13 goals and conceded 11, though 7 of these came in the final rout by A Seleção.
The numbers game
2 – This will be the second time a Chilean women’s national side have taken part at a FIFA global showpiece, with Chile involved as hosts at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2008.