21/04/2024

Tameka Yallop (Photo: Tiff Williams/Supplied by The Matildas)

Although their sights are firmly set on the Olympic Qualifiers this weekend, The Matilda’s Tameka Yallop dares to dream about what could be a third consecutive Olympics campaign in Paris.

A veteran of the Matildas set-up, midfielder Tameka Yallop is in the midst of a fourth Olympic Qualifier campaign, after an unsuccessful qualifier in London and successful ones on the road to Rio and Tokyo.

As a two-time Olympian, Yallop shared what it means to represent her country at the games.

“The Olympics always seems that much harder, there’s a lot less teams that qualify [and] you are playing the top countries in your confederation,” she said.

“It is just so difficult and you do really just appreciate those times that you can get there and obviously Paris would just be absolutely insane to participate in and play in.

“I just always feel like we are going into a pressure pocket and this is definitely the last round to qualify in so while there’s pressure we also want to enjoy the journey so we are taking it all in.”

If the Matildas qualify for Paris, it would be their third consecutive Olympic Games, Yallop emphasises that this is due to Australia becoming more competitive as a nation.

“It’s crazy to think that there were so many years we missed out on the Olympics,” Yallop continued.

“To see how far we’ve come within the Asian confederation since then, now we are one of the more competitive teams within Asia and internationally as well so for us to play on the Olympic stage again, it’s something that every athlete wants to put on their resume is [that they are an] Olympian.

“It’s honestly one of the biggest honours to pull on the jersey and be part of the whole Olympic team with all the other athletes, with different sports and be inclusive of a much bigger arena of events.

“[It’s just] crazy, all the passion and athletes that work so hard to sort of get their show on the big stage so the Olympics is definitely something that every athlete dreams of.”

More Football News

‘I feel like I belong now’ – Mackenzie Arnold reflects on the last 12 months as a Matilda

‘2023 for me was probably a big year of growth’: Matilda Clare Hunt on a monster 12 months

‘Obviously you can’t replace Sam Kerr’: Matildas ready to face Uzbekistan

With the popularity and support of the Matildas coming to an all-time high at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, Yallop explained that the team are using the support to fuel their performances.

“Looking at statistics and sort of past support and views and all that kind of stuff I think now is just surreal how much support and [a] following we are getting it,” she said.

“[It] just does make us all the more competitive and excited to play in front of everyone and to play the best football we can to sort of like cement Australia as a very, very competitive football team and football country.”

With the offence having some new and returning faces included, Yallop described the focus of their team’s efforts ahead of the two games against Uzbekistan.

“Obviously we’ve got to go out there to win the game so I think [there] will be a lot of emphasis on attacking, getting in the box and scoring goals,” Yallow continued.

“It’s a great opportunity for the girls coming in and we’ve got some old faces coming back in too as well, which is really exciting and honestly they’ve just slotted in so well, [they’re] slotting back in like they never left.

“I think everybody is really embracing it and you’ll have to watch the games to see how it goes.”

About Author