A GIRLS’ football team from South Derbyshire is hoping to take another step towards national glory this weekend.
The under-11 side from the Pennine Way Junior Academy, in Swadlincote, will compete in the regional finals of the Danone Nations Cup at Nottingham University on Saturday, having already been crowned Derbyshire champions.
The team will line up against other winners from across the Midlands to fight it out for the ultimate goal of representing England on the global stage in front of footballing superstar Zinedine Zidane. The Frenchman is an ambassador for the competition.
While becoming Team England and taking on the world may still be a long way off, the school’s head teacher Richard Mansfield is quietly confident.
Should the team finish as winners or runners-up this weekend, they will then be through to compete against the best young girls’ teams the country has to offer.
The final stand-off will then decide who will go on to represent England in the world final in September.
Mr Mansfield said he was especially proud to see a girls’ team from the school in the spotlight, as it is so often the male game that gets much of the recognition.
He said: “I’m really proud of the girls and am really excited about the next stage of the competition.
“It’s the first time we’ve entered a girls’ team into a national football competition. There a fantastic group of girls who are really into their football, and that’s why we decided to enter.
“We’ve had some years where the girls are more into their hockey, but we’re proud to have a girls’ football team representing the school.
“If we get through this keenly contested competition it will be a huge achievement for a school like Pennine Way.
“We’ve got a big journey ahead against some good teams, but I’m confident that if we can get a little bit of luck, maybe the odd last-minute winner, we can make it through.”