In one of the biggest local sporting coups since the Sydney 2000 Olympics, an agreement between Penrith Council and Football Federation Australia will see Australia’s national women’s football team, the Matildas, face-off against the might of Brazil in Penrith later this year.
The first game in a two-match International Series will be played at Pepper Stadium on Saturday, September 16. The great rivalry between the two teams – ranked seventh and eighth in the world – is expected to produce a thriller of a match and a near sell-out crowd.
Speaking at Wednesday’s historic announcement, Mayor John Thain said the popularity of football locally, particularly with women, was a major factor in bringing the game to Penrith.
“Penrith has more than 14,000 registered soccer players and a large proportion of these are female, so it makes complete sense to bring the world’s best to Penrith so our local players and supporters can watch and be inspired by them,” he said.
“We’ve also got passionate soccer fans of all ages who will be thrilled to have an opportunity to see an international game of soccer played in their own backyard.”
Football fans weren’t the only ones excited about the announcement, with local businesses also expected to benefit from an increase in visitors to the city.
“Thousands of people are expected to attend the game, bringing a welcome economic boost to local businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors,” Cr Thain said.
“Penrith’s reputation for hosting major events will be highlighted to millions of viewers watching the game on television, online and social media.
“A number of other events are planned by the Westfield Matildas to engage with the local community while they’re in Penrith.”
For tickets, visit matildas.footballaustralia.com.au/tickets.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.