Thursday 15 June 2023, 14:00

Development of Costa Rican women’s football in focus for Villalobos during New Zealand visit

Costa Rica will enter the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ chasing new highs after a decade of clear growth for women’s football in the Central American nation. To that end, Costa Rican Football President Rodolfo Villalobos and FIFA Council member is in New Zealand alongside FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura this week ahead of next month’s ultimate women’s football jamboree. Costa Rica hosted the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in a landmark moment for local women’s football, subsequently qualified for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and last year welcomed the world for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Costa Rica will be based in Christchurch next month and Villalobos was present on Friday to inspect the facilities that Las Ticas can expect when they arrive Down Under. “The facilities are of a very high standard and meet all the requirements for high-level training,” Villalobos said of the Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub in Christchurch. “They are designed for a high standard international team and we are very happy with the level of investment that will satisfy the needs of our team. “Obviously too, any host country will benefit from any upgraded facilities. But the most important benefit will be the impetus for women’s football in general. “I look forward to seeing women’s football growing in all corners of the world, and continued investment in women’s football.”

Rodolfo Villalobos President of Costa Rica Football (R) and FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura (C) visit the team base camp for Costa Rica at Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub

Costa Rica will open their campaign in an intriguing Group C against Spain, before further encounters against Zambia and Japan – the latter will also use Christchurch as their Team Base Camp. Costa Rica will be looking to improve on a very strong debut at Canada 2015 when they picked up draws against Spain and Korea Republic, before an unlucky 1-0 loss to Brazil concluded their campaign. “Participating in this Women’s World Cup is extremely important for the development of women’s football in our country,” Villalobos added. “This is important for impetus after hosting last year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup which helped us a lot in further growing women’s football. “Our ambition is take local women’s football to a fully professionalised level, and participating in a Women’s World Cup is part of achieving that goal.”