The Matildas will call London “home” when they host African Cup of Nations champions South Africa next month.
With nine Matildas – including captain and Chelsea star Sam Kerr – playing in the English Women’s Super League, Football Australia has decided to take the October 8 friendly home international to the UK at a yet-to-be announced London venue.
“It is a match that can highlight the global appeal of the Matildas, as well as presenting a unique opportunity for Australians abroad to watch one of the best-loved national teams in action,” FA chief executive James Johnson said.
“There are tens of thousands of Australians living in London and we’d love to see them cheering on the green and gold.”
Johnson said playing the South Africans was part of the Matildas’ thorough preparations for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
“We have been carefully and deliberately constructing a program of international friendlies to ensure the team is afforded a diverse range of opponents and playing styles to build together as we continue further down the road to the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” Johnson said.
The Matildas will take losing form into the match after being beaten twice on home soil this month by Canada.
Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said: “South Africa are current champions of Africa and a team that is fast rising in esteem in women’s football.
“On the road to their first African Cup of Nations title, they demonstrated excellent qualities as a team and as individuals, which should ensure an entertaining and challenging encounter.”
The Matildas will play another match in Europe on October 11 against a yet-to-be confirmed opponent.