Kenny Shiels says it would be one of the greatest sporting achievements of all time if the women of Northern Ireland qualified for Euro 2022.
Shiels’ side, which are a mix of professional and amateur players, are 90 minutes away from qualifying for their first major after winning 2-1 away against Ukraine in their play-off first leg on Friday. latest.
The second leg will take place in Belfast on Tuesday.
“You can’t have these thoughts before playing against an opponent,” Shiels replied when asked what qualifying for Euro 2022 would mean for women’s football in Northern Ireland. “Likewise, we don’t want to provide them with motivation.
“If we are successful it would be a remarkable achievement from the girls, possibly the greatest athletic achievement of all time unless Grimsby wins the Premier League. Most of the squad are amateurs, working in hospitals , banks, supermarkets. “
There have been riots in several towns in Northern Ireland over the past fifteen weeks in what police have described as the country’s worst violence in years.
Shiels says qualifying could provide an opportunity for the unit.
“We went through difficult times during the unrest,” he said. “It wasn’t the government or anyone else that got us through this – it was our sport.
“Football is the only working class sport in Northern Ireland that embraces all religions and communities, and we have done so throughout the 20 years or so of the unrest.
“I am so proud of football for giving us this platform to educate people and help them understand that everyone is good, regardless of color or religion.”