Fortunately the Swedish supremo does not particularly need to explain. All it takes is a look at the footage from the 2012 Gala, when she picked up the award largely on the back of guiding holders USA to gold at that year's Olympic Football Tournament in London.
“I’d like to be seen as an ambassador for women’s football,” said Sundhage, on one of the most remarkable moments in the Gala’s history. “When you win an award like that it feels incredible. And when you know that you had help from so many other people, and that so many others might have deserved to win it too, it makes your feelings even stronger.”
Expectations for upcoming Gala
In charge of her native Sweden since late 2012, Sundhage is among those who take part in the voting for the year’s award winners. Though choosing not to reveal which name received her vote, the 54-year-old former player did state who she feels will take home the FIFA Women’s World Player gong.
“I think it’ll be Nadine Kessler that wins,” she said, on the Germany midfielder whose inspirational performances played a major role in Wolfsburg’s triumphs in the 2013/14 Bundesliga and UEFA Women’s Champions League. Kessler is joined on the three-person shortlist by Wambach and five-time winner Marta. “There are good names on the preliminary list as well as the final shortlist though. Everyone on there is someone who is a cut above.”
Come the 2014 Gala too, there will be another woman in the running for an award, also for producing something “a cut above”. For the very first time, a goal scored by a women’s footballer has made it into the final three of the FIFA Puskas Award for the year’s finest goal.
“It was fantastic! The image quality is not the best but what a goal!” enthused Sundhage, on Ireland’s Stephanie Roche’s stunning strike for Peamount United against Wexford Youths. “Moments and skills like that are exactly what will help take women’s football even further.”