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Girl power . . . Football South women's development officer Tessa Nicol works with a group of Oamaru girls at a football training session at Awamoa Park last Thursday. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

A keen group of young female footballers were treated to their own skills session courtesy of Football South last Thursday.

About 30 girls took part in the session at Awamoa Park, organised by Awamoa Football Club chairwoman and coach Twyla Kingan.

Kingan, along with Football South women’s development officer Tessa Nicol, took the group of girls, aged 7 to 13, through a series of varied skill drills during the hour-long session.

“We’re just doing some really basic skills – passing, dribbling and making sure they’re enjoying it,” Nicol said.

“It a really good opportunity for girls in Oamaru and a chance for them to have a go in a girls-only environment.”

She said some girls tended to go “into their shells” when playing against boys, whereas they were a lot more comfortable playing with other girls.

Kingan, who plays for Meadowbank United in the South Canterbury women’s competition, said young female footballers in the Waitaki district deserved the same opportunities afforded to their male counterparts.

“I just thought there was a need, especially when we’re getting this many girls. It’s a great way to get them going and see what the interest level is.”

Kingan said it was often difficult for some families in Oamaru to get to similar sessions held in centres such as Dunedin and Timaru, and hoped session’s like last week’s would become a regular event.

“I would like it to. I’m just bubbling inside thinking about it. I would love to see a once-a-week girls session in Oamaru.”

Both women wanted to boost the number of girls playing football in Oamaru and hoped there would one day be a local girls league.

Kingan said of the roughly 450 children aged between 5 and 12 that played junior football, “less than a quarter” were female.