Kyah Simon is set to play a pivotal role in the Matildas Asian Cup hopes. Picture: AAP
Kyah Simon is set to play a pivotal role in the Matildas Asian Cup hopes. Picture: AAP

Simon says: Matildas a serious Asian Cup threat

WHAT a whirlwind period for Australian cricket - and Australian sport.

While a complex time in one code, here in Matildas camp we're only a day out from the first game of our Asian Cup against Korea Republic, a tournament that also doubles as our World Cup qualifiers for France 2019.

The Matildas' approach, to every match, is ultra-competitive but always within the framework of fair play. We play on the basis of, if we lose, we need to get better.

 

Kyah Simon is set to play a pivotal role in the Matildas Asian Cup hopes. Picture: AAP
Kyah Simon is set to play a pivotal role in the Matildas Asian Cup hopes. Picture: AAP

 

As an athlete one of your greatest assets is hard work and there is no limit to that hard work. The bottom line is to work harder to get better at what you're not good at.

Here in Jordan, we're preparing for our biggest tournament of the year. The Asian Cup comes around every four years. Like the Olympics and World Cup, it's a tournament that is significant for every footballer that is lucky to be part of it.

The last time we lifted the Asian Cup trophy was in 2010 in China, when we defeated North Korea on penalties. As an 18-year-old kicking the fifth penalty for the team, back then I didn't realise the significance of the tournament, but fast forward to now, my perspective has certainly changed towards those instrumental moments that you come to realise are fleeting throughout your career.

We have Korea Republic first up, followed by Vietnam and Japan - all games are difficult in their own respect, varying with the different styles of play from each opponent.

We are playing each game as if it were a final and taking no opponent easier than the next, ensuring we give ourselves every possible chance to be in that final match.

This is one major tournament we want to make our mark on, building upon the momentum we have at present to further gain credibility in world football. Which, for us Aussies, seems to be a constant challenge.

Simon and the Matildas beat North Korea on penalties in 2010. Picture: Getty Images
Simon and the Matildas beat North Korea on penalties in 2010. Picture: Getty Images

 

My feeling is that it has only been throughout the last two-year period that countries have started to take us seriously and see us as a threat, I guess because we've been perceived as just your typical, hardworking, athletic footballers.

However, now the game is changing. It's faster and more technical and we are now more of an all-round footballing team, made up of technical, tactical and athletic aspects, which along with our game knowledge and awareness, sees us play a style that complements our attributes and our hard working ethic that is instilled in every Australian athlete fighting for that same credibility in their chosen sport.

Personally, I have been in full-blown rehab mode since our W-League Grand Final, where I suffered a strained hamstring for Melbourne City in our 2-0 win over my previous club, Sydney FC.

It was a bittersweet victory, which saw me miss out on the Algarve Cup in Portugal recently, but I have been doing all I possibly can and I'm feeling good and looking on track to be on the team sheet for our first match - and I sure am champing at the bit to get back out there!

Simon was injured in her last outing for Melbourne City. Picture: AAP
Simon was injured in her last outing for Melbourne City. Picture: AAP

 

Inside Matildas camp, between meals, meetings, training, physio and recovery, due to the safety restrictions and parameters we have to abide by, we have a few different ways of killing time, including a bunch of reality TV binges, with the current show of choice for many being 'Bachelor in Paradise', along with a card playing group, studiers and TV series watchers.

All with our unique interests off the pitch, there's one thing that keeps us all on the same page and that's our undivided determination in winning this Asian Cup.

 

** All Matildas matches will be broadcast live and exclusive on Fox Sports

Matildas v Korea Republic, King Abdullah II Stadium, Amman

Kick off: Sat 8pm local time - 3am Sunday, April 8 AEST

 

Kyah Simon competes in the driving rain in the final of the 2010 Asian Cup in 2010.
Kyah Simon competes in the driving rain in the final of the 2010 Asian Cup in 2010.