FIFA nomination

Friday 21 December 2001

Having already won the World Cup and a gold medal at the Sydney Olympics, Norwegian international Marianne Pettersen could have been forgiven for thinking she had achieved everything possible in ladies football.

However, the Fulham Ladies captain now has an even more impressive CV, after being nominated for the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year award earlier this week.

Pettersen, who has scored 42 goals this season, was selected as the third best player in the world by the Tonga National coach, Pouli Mafi.

Coaches from around the world were asked to nominate their top three players worldwide over the last year with five points being awarded for a first place, three points for second, and one point for third.

The overall award went to American star Mia Hamm, who beat off China international Sun Wen and her USA teammate Tiffany Milbrett to claim first place, with Pettersen in 43rd place.

It's the first time in history that a Fulham player has ever been nominated for the FIFA World Player of the year award - something that Marianne is rightly very proud of.

"It's a great honor to be put forward for such an award and to be compared with some of the best players in the world," said Marianne.

"I am very proud to be the first Fulham player ever nominated for this award but I'm sure I won't be the last."

Pettersen, 26, joined Fulham Ladies in January 2001 from Norwegian club side Athene Moss.

"At the time a lot of people were surprised I chose to come to Fulham when I could have gone to play in the professional league in America, but I have never regretted it. The standard of ladies football in England is improving all the time and I'm thoroughly enjoying playing here."

Fulham Ladies manager Gaute Haugenes was full of praise for his player.

"I am delighted for Marianne and the recognition is well deserved as her performances this year have been exceptional," said Haugenes . "She's achieved everything in the game and she sets a great example to all the other players," he added.

Angie Banks and Kelly Smith were the only two English players nominated.

Fulham Ladies' next game is January 6, away to Birmingham City in the F.A Cup fourth round. Fulham Ladies play Wimbledon on January 9, match played at Carshalton FC.