Uefa Women's U19: Matikainen sees 'massive Wales opportunity'

Wales manager Jarmo Matikainen

Wales Women's boss Jarmo Matikainen believes the forthcoming Uefa Women's Under-19 Championship is a "massive opportunity" for the host nation.

The ex-Finland international hopes to guide the hosts to tournament success.

But he also hopes the event, played in west Wales, can boost women's football throughout the country.

"It's hugely important that we host a good tournament and show the best side of Wales as a football nation," said Matikainen.

Wales Under-19 kick off their challenge at Parc y Scarlets on Monday, 19 August against Denmark.

They also face England U19 and France U19 in Group A.

Matches will also be played at Carmarthen's Richmond Park, The Bridge Meadow Stadium in Haverfordwest and Stebonheath Park in Llanelli.

Matikainen added: "I think it's a massive opportunity and possibility at every level, and obviously my focus is on player development and the players.

"But in general if we think that this is the first finals tournament that Wales has hosted, it's hugely important that we host a good tournament and show the best side of Wales as a football nation.

"On the other hand from the Football Association [of Wales'] point of view it's also an extremely important opportunity to show that we are really working in [the] women's game and making sure that women's football has the visibility and the possibilities that it deserves.

"Then from our national teams and player development set-up it is a unique opportunity to see the benchmarks, where we are and that only highlights the importance of the national activities in general."

Matikainen joined the FAW in August 2010 as the first full-time head of women's national teams at senior, U19 and U 17 levels.

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