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PNG women face big test

Port Moresby will host the tri-nations series between 24 and 30 May, as part of the country’s preparations for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup later this year in PNG’s capital city.
Cole says the visit of these two teams will show her players the level they will need to reach if they want to compete on the world stage.
“Japan and the United States are two of the best countries in the world.
“The technical quality and speed of Japan and the heart and athleticism of a team like the USA is something PNG has never played against.”
Cole expects these matches to be a huge learning experience and she believes that’s what her team needs at this point.
“We have some players who have played in OFC events, others who have never played outside of local competitions in PNG,” she says.
“I am proud of the progress the players have made over the last few months.
“They have improved in so many areas but they need to take their game to another level again if they want to compete in the World Cup.
“These games will give us a good gauge of where we are now and where we need to get to.”
Cole says the tournament will be an important first step for her players in figuring out how good they can be.
“These games will help my players understand that little things matter, that we still need to improve our fitness and that we need to keep focused and improving every single day.
“We have made great progress but we are not there yet, not even close, our best football is still to come.
“Our players have to see the top level if they want to rise to that level.”
Cole, who is the former head coach of the Boston Breakers in the National Women’s Soccer League, says the tournament will also provide her with valuable insights as to which of her players can step up to earn starting positions come the World Cup.
“I want to see who can handle the pressure in a game situation and how quickly they can adapt to the different styles of play.
“Who can apply the concepts we have worked on in training by transferring them to the games.”
The former goalkeeper says it’s an exciting period for football in Papua New Guinea which will also host the OFC Nations Cup at the end of this month.
“Football is the second most popular sport in PNG and for women it seems to be the top sport.
“The country is still very young, so every opportunity for the fans to go and watch players wearing the national badge is a big deal.”
Cole also believes that hosting the OFC Nations Cup and the FIFA U-20 Women’ World Cup will offer PNG a huge opportunity to grow the game.
“My hope is that the U-20 Women’s World Cup is just the beginning of great things to come from this group of players and for the PNG Women’s national programme.”


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