After an absence of three years, Sydney FC’s dynamic winger Princess Ibini received a call up for the CommBank Matildas fixtures against Spain and Portugal.
Although only 22 years of age, Ibini has been a stalwart of the A-League Women’s competition for the past seven seasons, assisting Sydney FC to five consecutive grand final appearances and back-to-back Premiers Plates.
Ibini is one of a strong contingent of Sky Blues who have been recognised for their performances with CommBank Matildas call ups.
The winger was pleased that her current and former teammates have been rewarded for their sustained success.
“It’s honestly amazing to see so many Sydney FC players,” Ibini said. “It shows that Sydney FC is a great club, a top club, and is able to produce so many players. It’s just very easy to have them here and makes everything smooth sailing.”
On her own form, Ibini credits the confidence gained over the last few years for her shot at breaking into the national team more consistently.
“My last season with Sydney FC was very enjoyable for me. I improved a lot over the season with goals and assists, and definitely improved on my defending attributes as well. It has been lacking a little bit, but it’s gotten better over time so I’m really happy with that.
“It feels very different [coming in after an absence]. I feel like I’ve come in with a lot more confidence. I’m feeling good and ready to go.”
After bursting onto the Australian football scene as a highly rated teenager, Ibini has settled into a career that she is gradually finding more comfort with.
Proud of her African-Australia identity, Ibini is a trailblazer as just the second female player with African ancestry to represent the senior women’s national team. Alongside older brother Bernie, they are an even rarer brother/sister combination to pull on the green and gold.
With Awer Mabil recently helping the Socceroos to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and duo Alou Kuol and Kusini Yengi producing special moments with the Men’s U23 team, Ibini is honoured to add to the burgeoning representation of African-Australians in the national teams.
“To be one of only a handful of African-Australians is something that I really hold close to my heart. To be able to not just inspire but to make them say that they can play football as well.
“Not just following my footsteps but to create their own to do whatever they want to do; if it’s football or anything else.
“To be able to wear the Australian jersey, a country that I’ve grown up in my whole life, and represent this country is something I always dreamed of.”
Ibini will be aiming to add to her six international caps when Australia takes on Spain this Sunday morning Australian time.
The first ever international between the two nations will be broadcast live on Network 10, 10 Play and Paramount+. Coverage will commence at 5.00 am AEST.