Former Ghana international Michael Essien is among 23 legends unveiled by Fifa as part of a campaign to promote this year’s Women’s World Cup in France.
The players making up the squad – 13 women and 10 men – are tasked with helping drive attendances at the tournament, generating engagement and inspiring a new generation to play women’s football through the initiative.
For the men in the legends team, Essien is joined by the likes of World Cup winners Marcel Desailly of France and Brazil’s Gilberto Silva, two-time UEFA Champions League winner Michel Salgado of Spain, Argentina’s Esteban Cambiasso, Australian Tim Cahill and former South Korean star Park Ji-sung
The 13 women named on the squad include two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup winner Kristine Lilly of the United States, France’s Laura Georges and former England international turned television pundit Alex Scott. They are joined by the likes of Scott’s ex-England team-mate Kelly Smith, Nadine Kessler of Germany and Canada’s Karina LeBlanc.
Each have been given a superhero name and superpower by Fifa.
Superhuman strength, lightning reactions, unshakeable commitment…
Our Legends overcame obstacles, fought adversity, and are here to inspire the next generation.
— FIFA Women's World Cup 🇫🇷 (@FIFAWWC) February 7, 2019
“The eighth edition of the Fifa Women’s World Cup will be very special and it takes place at a time when women around the globe are uniting to make their voices heard,” said Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura.
“The tournament’s official slogan ‘Dare to Shine’ echoes the current world movement towards female empowerment and I am looking forward to seeing teams of strong and passionate women, from 24 different countries, illuminate football stadiums in France with their skill.
“Our superheroes will help us to reach a global audience of one billion and make the Fifa Women’s World Cup France 2019 our biggest and best yet – for players, for fans, for local communities and for the empowerment of girls and women.”
The tournament is due to begin on June 7 with the grand finale set for July 7.
Norway, South Korea, and the 2018 Africa Cup of Nations winners Nigeria will compete in Group A alongside hosts France.
Germany, China, Spain and South Africa were drawn into Group B, and Australia, Italy, Brazil and tournament debutants Jamaica will compete in Group C.
Group D includes England, Japan, Scotland and Argentina.