The 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup is now on in Dunedin, and three keen local footballers were amazed to receive an opportunity to be involved.
Balclutha brothers Nathan, Mark and Tim Senada were recently selected to be player escorts for women’s football teams playing at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Eight footballers from the Balclutha Football Club were selected.
The brothers said they were ‘‘very excited’’ for the opportunity and were googling the various players with their mother Amy.
‘‘I’m so, so excited. We are very lucky,’’ Nathan said.
The boys get to go on the field for three different matches — they have been to one so far.
Mrs Senada recalled the moment she found out the boys were selected.
‘‘I was actually at school with them, helping with cooking saveloys for the kids,’’ she said.
‘‘I waited until everyone was gone and we got into a team huddle and I told them and we were jumping around — it was just so exciting and wholesome.’’
Tim misunderstood, and thought he would be meeting male superstars.
‘‘I thought Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were going to be there, but then I found out it was women’s football, so whoops,’’ he said.
The boys and their club associates have uniforms to wear at the games, but they have to leave them there so the uniforms do not get lost; once they are finished, the boys are allowed to keep them.
‘‘It’s such an exciting opportunity, especially because they all get to do it together. It may be slightly overwhelming because of massive crowds but they’re pretty good kids and they’ll have each others backs,’’ Mrs Senada said.
The boys know some of the players, and are watching out for the United States team.
‘‘They’re definitely a favourite among lots of people,’’ Nathan said.
‘‘There’s lots of teams like Vietnam, Argentina, our team [Football Ferns], France. There are lots. And the final is going to be in Australia!’’
There are three more games to be held in Dunedin.