May 23, 2013
Tonight sees the Women’s Champions League final as Lyon take on Wolfsburg in London at Stamford Bridge. Laureus Ambassador Nia Kuenzer, herself a winner of the Women’s Champions League, talks to Laureus.com about the ongoing success and popularity of women’s football, and, as patron of a Laureus charity sport project, why football can be so important to young girls.
People know now that women can play attractive football. The World Cup 2011 certainly played a role in this but on an international and club the level of performance is very close. Many people like to watch women’s football today. It’s slower than men’s football due to physical differences but this makes a much better flow of the game possible, which makes it very interesting to watch.
We usually try to avoid comparing men’s and women’s football, but one of the biggest differences is speed due to the mentioned physical differences. However, that’s why there is more flow in the game with better passing. Then there are fewer breaks due to conversations with the referee which leads to more concentration on the actual game of football. This has become very appealing to people. Furthermore, some of the players have a very advanced technique and it’s a pleasure to watch them play.
German football has already come a long way and if you compare women’s football with other women’s sports and team sports we are already very privileged. All national team games are televised on major channels, so is the German cup final and tonight’s final is broadcasted on Eurosport. What other sports are available on TV on such a regular basis? All clubs will have to improve individually but the DFB (German FA) does their best to help get attention to the sport.
Germany had difficulties especially in men’s football to compete on an international level we have achieved more over the past few years because of our exceptional youth development. We have fought our way back to the top level with the way German teams play, which is where women’s football has been for quite a while now.
Today it’s internationally accepted that girls play football. It should be a basic goal that it is normal for a young girl to say she wants to play football and to have the chance to do so. With regards to our Projects [Nia is the Patron of the Laureus Kicking Girls project in Germany] we reach a lot of girls through football and it is incredibly important for them to do their sport which might only be offered for boys otherwise. They gain self-esteem through the sport since football is a very important part of our society. Especially boys and girls with a migration background should get to experience of this game.
[Winning the Women’s Champions League] was an incredible feeling! An international competition and title is something very special, because you play against the best teams in Europe and in the end you are the best Club in Europe. The atmosphere and attention around a final is something very special and for the girls of Wolfsburg that’s definitely going to be a career highlight, even if they don’t win.
Lyon is the clear favourite, but on the other hand Wolfsburg has nothing to lose and I hope it will be an attractive and exciting game. Lyon is unbeaten in over 100 consecutive games now and therefore is the clear favourite.