Jul 28 2012 By Matt Lewis
Anita Asante Team GB Image 3
TEAM GB star Anita Asante believes this year’s Olympic Games can put women’s football on the map.
The 27-year-old Edgware midfielder made history on Wednesday as part of the first British women’s team, who kicked off the Games in Cardiff with a 1-0 win against New Zealand.
Asante has been training alongside global superstars such as Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs, Premier League winner Micah Richards and European champion Daniel Sturridge.
Although the men’s game and its decorated players have long been revered by millions of fans across the world, the women’s game has been unable to draw the same level of attention.
However, former Chelsea and Arsenal star Asante believes London 2012 provides the ideal platform for Team GB’s women to show the watching world what they can do on the pitch.
“A lot of football people don’t take the Olympics seriously but I think it can help do so much for the sport, especially the women’s game,” said Asante who now plays in Sweden.
“We are looking to use it as a big platform to launch from and increase our following. We have been training side-by-side with the men’s team. Bumping into everyone around the hotel is good because you can pick their brains about football and it feels like you’re part of something really big.”
Team GB remain in Wales to face Cameroon in the Millennium Stadium today before concluding the group stage of the competition against Brazil at Wembley three days later.
Asante is not underestimating either nation but believes with the support of the home fans, the history-making Brits can fight for a medal in London.
“The amount of support we will have is going to help us,” she said.
“We’re pretty confident. The training has been good and we’ve all adjusted really well and I feel our squad is very strong. Hopefully we can go all the way.
“We played a behind-closed-doors friendly with South Africa because we believe they will have a similar style of play to Cameroon. Our staff will have video footage and we will go through it and analyse things.
“Whenever we’ve played African nations in the past they’ve been physical games and the players are very athletic. They are often unpredictable which makes them hard to play. The fact they’ve qualified means they’ll be a tough team.
"There is no Nigeria and no Ghana at the Games, so the fact they’ve beaten those teams to get here says a lot.”