·1 December 2023
·1 December 2023
Ahead of the Republic of Ireland’s upcoming fixtures in the UEFA Women’s Nations League, Mustaki has reflected on her footballing journey so far and what has been a historic year for her country.
The Girls in Green made their first appearance at a FIFA Women’s World Cup over the summer with Bristol City defender Mustaki being a member of that squad. When speaking in a FAI media session, Mustaki looked back on what has been a historic year while she believes that the future looks very bright.
“It’s been a pretty historic year for us all and for the history of women’s football in Ireland,” Mustaki said. “What a fantastic experience, all of us feel privileged to be able to go to it (FIFA Women’s World Cup).
“To have four wins in the Nations League as well has been brilliant and we just hope to keep building on that and to hopefully keep qualifying for major tournaments.
“This has been the start of something really special. I think since qualifying for the World Cup, you can really tell there’s real potential coming through in this country, There always has been but all the different pieces haven’t really fit together until last year I’d say. It’s a really exciting time, we’ve got really great and important backing from the FAI now and if you’re a youngster coming in, what a great career you have ahead of you, especially in the international team as well.
“For us, we’ve been around the block for a while now and it’s great to get a taste of that. We’ve been working hard over the past few years to get to where the national team is today. Though I’ve only played a tiny part in that, it’s really exciting and I’d say you’ll see a lot more from us in the years to come.”
It’s been a transitional 18 months for Mustaki with the player having only made the decision to make the leap to full-time football in the summer of 2022. Mustaki commented on adapting to the transition and holding no regrets.
She said “It’s been unbelievable. I probably wouldn’t have made the World Cup squad if I hadn’t decided to leave Ireland and play abroad. What an unbelievable experience that was for me and I find myself now playing in one of the best, if not the best, leagues in the world, whereas a year-and-a-half ago, I was just working and playing in Ireland.
“It’s been a fantastic year-and-a-half for me and I think I would’ve had regrets if I hadn’t done it. It was a push for me to get out of my comfort zone and to not have any regrets come the end of my playing career; that I had tried to go full-time and see where that might take me and here I am; I’ve been to a World Cup and I’m playing in the WSL. It’s fantastic and it’s a nice reward for the hard times, it’s been great and long may it last.”
Mustaki’s club, Bristol City, won promotion to the Barclays Women’s Super League at the end of last season. Having been with The Robins during their Barclays Women’s Championship title-winning season, Mustaki discussed how she has found the transition between leagues.
“Yeah 100% (there’s a jump), that was kind of shown to me in pre-season,” Mustaki said. “There’s a difference in level, a difference in movement of the opposition forward line, you can’t really compare it to the Championship.
“It’s where I want to be and I’ll just have to ride my time, get the opportunities when they come, take them and just keep working hard and hopefully, get more minutes throughout the season.”
Reflecting on Bristol City’s season so far, Mustaki said that The Robins feel frustrated to have only collected four points.
She said “I think we’re probably a bit frustrated that we only have four points on the board from all the games that we’ve played, that’s the overriding feeling. It’s been pretty tight in some of the games, the scorelines don’t actually reflect how the games have gone most of the time. We’ll keep fighting, keep working hard, we’ve got a good group and good management as well, so we are probably only complaining because we just need to score a few more goals.
“In defence, you’re always going to be liable to concede one or two goals a game because you’re up against some really good forwards but if you can just manage to score a few more, it will relieve a bit of the pressure.
“We’re doing our best and hopefully, we can get some more results in the next games.”
The final international window of the calendar year brings the Republic of Ireland’s last two fixtures in the UEFA Women’s Nations League. The Girls in Green host Hungary at Tallaght Stadium this evening, before heading north to face Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on Tuesday. Despite the Republic of Ireland having already secured promotion into League A with four consecutive victories, Mustaki says that The Girls in Green will show no complacency in the two fixtures.
“I think we’re all looking forward to them,” the player said. “We still want to get six points from six, that’s the aim. We can’t really relax and take the foot off the pedal.”
The Republic of Ireland’s latest UEFA Women’s Nations League fixture against Hungary at Dublin’s Tallaght Stadium kicks-off at 7.30pm this evening.