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  • Writer's pictureCaydn Foley

Poweroos: One month out, confidence is high for another home World Cup

After a successful FIFA Women's World Cup on home soil, another major football tournament will be held in Australia in 2023. Front Page Football spoke to Luke David, a member of the Australian Poweroos squad, about the upcoming Powerchair Football World Cup.

On October 15, nine nations will enter Australian shores to participate in the 2023 FIPFA Powerchair Football World Cup. This edition marks the first time it will be held in Australia.

Powerchair football is a fast-paced version of traditional football adapted for players with disabilities who require an electric wheelchair (powerchair). Two teams of four compete on a 30x18 metre court, typically held in gymnasiums on a basketball court-type surface. Many of the rules are similar to futsal (indoor football). Metal guards are attached to the front of every player's wheelchair. They are used to ‘kick’ the ball, often by spinning the wheelchair in a fast circular motion to generate power.

Powerchair footballers use the guards attached to the front of their wheelchair to 'kick' the ball. (Australian Powerchair Football Association)

Speaking to FPF recently, Victorian Luke David believes morale has been high in the Australian Poweroos training camps, one month from the tournament.

“It’s always a work in progress,” David said.

“Just like any other elite-level competition, there's an unspoken, day-to-day uncertainty, and that's what makes it exciting. We're trying to build something here, and it's in these moments, during the gruelling training sessions, you really lay the foundation.

“Each training camp got more and more intense as we went through preparation; the squad has put in a lot of work. The players are fully committed, and the morale is high. We’ll always wish we had more time, but we’re going in as prepared as we can be and confident.”

The Poweroos are still newcomers to the international stage of the sport. But they have already become recognised as a formidable force, and the team knows they should not be underestimated, much like their Socceroo and Matildas counterparts. At the 2017 FIPFA World Cup held in Florida in the United States, the Poweroos reached the semi-finals, where they were defeated by eventual World Cup winners France.

The Poweroos reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2017. (Australian Powerchair Football Association)

Two years later, Australia won the 2019 APO Cup, a competition for nations in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions, without conceding a goal.

David, a 31-year-old suffering from nemaline myopathy, an extremely rare muscle condition affecting 1 in 50,000 people, feels something special brewing for the Australians at the upcoming tournament.

“I feel like we've got something special going on,” David said.

“We've been pushing hard in our training camps, adapting, evolving our style of play to be a bit more unpredictable yet solid and aggressive. I think we’ll be going in as definite underdogs, and that's a tag we’ll wear with a sense of pride.

“There's nothing more Australian than going against the odds and pulling out something extraordinary.

“This squad is hungry, passionate, and willing to put in the hard yards. We finished fourth in the world in 2017, but it has been a long time since then. We know all other nations have improved and developed their style. We don’t have as many clubs, players, support, and opportunities to test ourselves as much as some other nations. But we’re looking forward to the challenge. England, France, [and the] USA are so strong in the sport and with the other nations improving, it’s really hard to tell how we stack up against everyone.

“What I do know is, we're going to play our hearts out; for ourselves, for our supporters, for Australia. At the end of the day, win, lose, or draw, if we can wheel off that pitch knowing we've given it our all and made our country proud, that's a victory for us. But we’re going for that cup.”

Most importantly, David, the rest of the Poweroos, and the greater Australian powerchair football community want to demonstrate at the upcoming World Cup that their game, the game they love and put their heart and soul into, is not inferior to traditional football. David says it deserves the respect of the Australian public for the effort the men and women involved put into their craft.



The Poweroos want to show that powerchair football is not inferior to traditional football at the upcoming World Cup. (Instagram: @lmr.____)

“I want people to see the level of skill and determination on display. People often underestimate what goes into powerchair football, thinking it's somehow 'less than' the running game. But the moment you see a pinpoint pass or an incredible defensive manoeuvre, that mindset shifts. This sport demands just as much strategic thinking, agility, and finesse as any other. So, if viewers walk away with a newfound respect for what we do, that’s a massive win,” David said.

“It's not just about the skill; it's also about the spirit, the grit, the fight of the game. I want viewers to look at us and think, 'Wow, they’re leaving it all on the field. They’re battling every second for something bigger than themselves.' Many of us are not just playing for the love of the sport but also to break barriers, to challenge perceptions.

“Powerchair football has this remarkable power to unify people. In a world that often seems hell-bent on highlighting divisions, a game of football — powerchair or otherwise — reminds us of what we can achieve when we come together with a common goal. Whether you're from Australia, Europe, the Americas, wherever, for those 40 minutes, you're part of something much bigger than yourself, and that's the beauty of it.

“So, if people can take away even a fraction of any of that, sense the unity, the passion, and the skill, and if that changes even one perspective or inspires even one kid to jump in a powerchair and give this sport a try, then I'd say we’ve accomplished something pretty special.”

The 2023 FIPFA Powerchair Football World Cup will be held from October 15 to 20 at the Quaycentre in Sydney. Tickets are free at Each match will also be streamed via FIPFA's Facebook and Youtube pages. Australians are encouraged to attend and check out a sport they may never have witnessed before to cheer on their Poweroos.

Click here to read more of writer Caydn Foley's work!


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