Tweed Coast Oztag duo to lead women at World Cup
A LOVE for football and dedication to the game has created the opportunity of a lifetime for two Tweed athletes.
Football veterans Letitia Kelly and Shontelle Raymond will help represent the Australian Indigenous Oztag women's team at the next World Cup.
The duo have been picked to coach and manage the over 40s women's team at the 2021 International Tag Federation World Cup in Ireland.
It is the first time the competition has been held out of Australia.
Both women are involved in the Tweed Coast Oztag club and have decades of experience in football.
Ms Kelly said she was excited to be named the coach and hoped it would inspire others to apply for the role in the future.
"I hope the exposure puts us on the map," Ms Kelly said.
"We're a smaller competition and family-friendly, but there's an opportunity for local kids and the community to say, 'we know them, maybe we'll have a go'."
She said a few local athletes who played at the 2018 Tag World Cup in New Zealand were keen to try out for 2021.
"They said they're excited and keen to put their hat in the ring.
"It'll will depend on finances - it's a big commitment."
Ms Raymond was excited to manage the team and looked forward to representing not only Australia, but the Tweed.
She said knowing Ms Kelly applied for the coaching position encouraged her decision to nominate for manager.
"I knew Letitia was applying for the coaching position, I was hoping to manage alongside her," Ms Raymond said.
Ms Raymond encouraged women throughout the country to nominate themselves for the World Cup.
"Anyone across the country can nominate, they just have to be playing in local comps throughout the year and be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent."
Ms Kelly said women were also scouted from the State Cup but coronavirus restrictions had shutdown the competition.
"The Queensland Oztag Senior State Cup was held just before the coronavirus shutdown the competition, but NSW missed out.
"Normally, selectors go to the games and choose the girls and see how they play, but all that's on hold at the moment.
"They (AIO) like to take around 18 girls due to the fact you have to consider injuries."
She said players were selected based on their ability to hit the ground running.
"They're selected at this level for their capability to be able to get on the field and do what we need them to do.
"We will do some training runs … they'll be a call out that says, 'There's a training comp running this weekend', and we'll all fly to an area and have a training run.
"It also helps to breaks down the barriers and you get to know each other as well."