Journey to Azerbaijan begins

New Caledonia face Papua New Guinea in the opening match at 1:00pm before the hosts take on Cook Islands at 3:00pm.
The round-robin competition will run from 9-13 April in conjunction with the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship 2012 from 10-14 April, also at Centre Park.
Here’s a look at the action that’s in store tomorrow.
New Caledonia vs. PNG – 1:00pm Monday 9 April
At senior level, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea are considered the strongest Pacific Island nations in women’s football. This was evident at last year’s Pacific Games when Papua New Guinea edged the hosts 2-1 in an epic final at Stade Numa Daly. New Caledonia’s Brenda Kenon and Cheyenne Dieuma will have bitter memories of that last minute loss but the former may miss the chance for revenge tomorrow due to injury. As newcomers to the event, coach Kamaliele Fitialata admits they are outsiders for the title but is backing his strong defensive line and experienced striker Dieuma to help set them on the right track tomorrow. Papua New Guinea competed in the previous qualifier but suffered defeats to New Zealand and Solomon Islands to finish a disappointing third. They will be desperate for a better showing this time around under coach Frederica Apeh, who creates history this week by becoming the first female head coach of a Papua New Guinea national team. Players to watch include striker Georgina Kaikas and midfielder Rumona Morris, both of whom were involved in the Olympic play-offs against New Zealand’s Football Ferns last week.
In their own words
“This tournament is a new experience for us so we will discover how good we are at U-17 level. Our strength is defending as a unit and we will focus on that against Papua New Guinea. But we might be without defender Brenda Kenon who is trying to recover from an injury.” – New Caledonia coach Kamaliele Fitialeata
“I don’t know much about New Caledonia so in the beginning we’ll just see how they attack. The experience of our older players will be really important. We are expecting a lot from captain Rumona Morris and also strikers Yvonne Gabong and Georgina Kaikas.” – Papua New Guinea coach Frederica Apeh

New Zealand vs. Cook Islands – 3:00pm Monday 9 April
New Zealand go into this match as heavy favourites against a Cook Islands side making their debut appearance at the OFC U-17 Women’s Championship. Leading the way for the Young Football Ferns will be pivotal midfielder Hannah Carlsen and the versatile Megan Lee who both featured in the championship winning side two years ago. The pair also gained valuable experience at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2010 along with Lily Alfeld who travelled as reserve goalkeeper but now claims the number one shirt. Coach Paul Temple has led a successful build-up including series wins against Australia at home and Argentina away. Preparations for the Cook Islands meanwhile have been a challenge with squad members training in various locations since January. Coach Angela Valamaka, sister of New Zealand’s most capped international Hayley Moorwood, has monitored the progress of the four players based in New Zealand – Jade Valamaka, Lee Maoate-Cox, Maeva Carr and Brooke Miller – while Michelle Paiti has managed the Cook Islands based players including those from the outer islands of Aitutaki and Atiu. Tepaeru Toka is expected to be a key figure in midfield having taken part in last year’s Pacific Games as well as the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship in 2010.
In their own words
“We’ll be going into the game a little bit blind but hopefully we can start well and get our foothold in the game. The movement of our forward line is going to be crucial to how successful we are. I think if we’re too static and we don’t move well then we’ll find it hard to break teams down.” – New Zealand coach Paul Temple
“We’ve got a good bunch of girls who have worked hard enough to be able to give them a good run for their money but we know it won’t be easy. We want to play good football and do the simple things well but most importantly we’ve just got to try and disrupt them as much as possible and take advantage of any disruptions.” – Cook Islands coach Angela Valamaka

Match Details:
New Caledonia vs. Papua New Guinea
1:00pm, Monday 9 April
Mangere Centre Park
Auckland, New Zealand
Referee: Robinson BANGA (VAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Jovita QILAMASALA (SOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Sergine POIDA (VAN)
4th Official: Jacque AVERII (TAH)
New Caledonia:
1. Deborah SELEFEN (GK), 2. Priscilla GOHOUPE, 3. Brenda KENON, 4. Wakalane NGAIOHNI, 5. Oceane PEREZ-GONZALEZ, 6. Jaydela HNANGAN, 7. Noe VALEFAKAAGA, 8. Cloesia BRUIREU, 9. Lyndsay NYIPIE, 10. Cheyenne DIEUMA, 11. Monique GORENDIAWE, 12. Josiane AYAWA, 13. Monique WAYEWOL, 14. Gwenhaelle WADRENGES, 15. Aude SIO, 16. Cinthia PAITA (GK), 17. Malory ONIARY, 18. Marylou USIKE
Coach: Kamaliele FITIALEATA
Papua New Guinea: 1. Esther METLEM (GK), 2. Lavina HOLA, 3. Carolyn OBI, 4. Bridget KADU, 5. Maggie WEVA, 6. Dinna AWELE, 7. Delvinna YAKUC, 8. Talitha IRAKAU, 9. Alisandra AIPI, 10. Yvonne GABONG, 11. Alexier STEPHEN, 12. Wendy AGIBE, 13. Fiona VULIA, 14. May MOGI, 15. May MOGI, 16. Joy TSUGA, 17. Rumona MORRIS, 18. Georgina KAIKAS, 19. Ramana LORENZ, 20. Biangka GUBAG (GK)
Coach: Frederica APEH
New Zealand vs. Cook Islands
3:00pm, Monday 9 April
Mangere Centre Park
Auckland, New Zealand
Referee: Gerald OIAKA (SOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Lata TUIFUTUNA (TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Filio MOEAKI (TGA)
4th Official: George TIME (SOL)
New Zealand:
1. Lily ALFELD (GK), 2. Meikayla MOORE, 3. Laura MERRIN, 4. Catherine BOTT, 5. Emily JENSEN, 6. Hannah CARLSEN, 7. Jasmine PEREIRA, 8. Jess INNES, 9. Martine PUKETAPU, 10. Briar PALMER, 11. Emma ROLSTON, 12. Daisy CLEVERLEY, 13. Megan LEE, 14. Lauren DABNER, 15. Briar McNAMARA, 16. Ronisa LIPI (GK), 17. Courteney VAN LIESHOUT, 18. Megan ROBERTSON, 19. Jolene MUIR, 20. Kirsten MOLLOY
Coach: Paul TEMPLE
Cook Islands: 1. Moeroa NOOTAI, 2. Teiti TUPUNA, 3. Linade UNUKA, 4. Rai NGANU, 5. Jade VALAMAKA, 7. Edna TEIO, 8. Louana TREGO, 9. Tyrina TREGO, 10. Tuakana NOOVAO, 11. June PUNUA, 12. Lee MAOATE-COX, 13. Temata HARMON, 14. Mona TAIO, 15. Maeva CARR, 16. Brooke MILLER, 17. Jessica PUIRI, 18. Tepaeru TOKA, 20. Imelda VAKAI (GK)
Coach: Angela VALAMAKA

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