Oceania Football Confederation > News > Girls' Youth Olympic Football Tournament > Nanjing experience a positive one for PNG

Nanjing experience a positive one for PNG

Beaten 7-0 by Venezuela and 4-0 by Slovakia, the team nicknamed the ‘Kurakums’ have experienced a difficult tournament in their second participation at the Youth Olympic Games.
But that experience has not been unique to Papua New Guinea.
Namibia faced the same situation in Group B with two heavy losses against medal pretenders Mexico (9-0) and hosts favourites China PR (10-0).
Nevertheless, despite both teams’ challenging experiences, the spirit of the Games has had a lasting impact on the players on a personal level.
Their Games experience has provided a strong personal experience and an added value for the players’ progression not only technically but holistically.
‘’The players have arrived in Nanjing, witnessed how good the training and competition facilities are and come into contact with people from all over the world.
“It is a culture shock but a positive one which facilitates the players’ progress,’’ Papua New Guinea coach Margaret Aka says.
Aka’s opposite number Mervin Mbakera echoed those remarks.
‘’Our players know what kind of expectations are on their shoulders and they have also been able to gauge the standard of international competition,’’ Mbakera says.
The experience of the Games gives Papua New Guinea and Namibia reasons to hope for a brighter future for their sides in international women’s competition.
‘’Some of the players were called up to the squad for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup while our captain Margaret Joseph once trained with the national side,’’ Aka says.
Namibia have also identified similar pathways for some of their youngsters in Nanjing.
‘’Players can make a lot of progress in a tournament like this. If they continue to advance, then it is conceivable that in the next four to five years many of them will get into the higher level national teams and even the senior setup,’’ Mbakera says.
Now Papua New Guinea and Namibia have one last opportunity to bring back history in their country and win their first even game at a FIFA tournament.
‘’They [Papua New Guinea] have a lot of experience and will be very tricky opponents.
‘’But with our previous experience, we will give it our best shot and go all out to get a victory,’’ Mbakera says.
Four years ago, the Oceania representatives finished sixth after losing on penalty-shoot-out 4-2 against Trinidad and Tobago despite ending the game 0-0.
A chance to go one better remains up for grabs for Papua New Guinea.
The match kicks off at 6pm local time next Monday.
Match Details
Girls’ Youth Olympic Football Tournament
Monday 25 August, 2014
Papua New Guinea vs Namibia
Jiangning Sports Centre Stadium
Nanjing, China
Kick-off: 6pm (local time)
For more on Papua New Guinea football, visit www.pngfootball.com.pg

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