Gunemba goal to silence sibling

The second half substitute raced on to a through ball in behind the New Zealand before dinking the ball one side of goalkeeper Erin Nayler, collecting on the other and slotting into an empty net.
With the scoreboard reading 1-7, the goal was mere consolation for the home side but it at least offered some deserved reward for their industry and commitment to their cause in the face of a slick New Zealand outfit.
It also gave the 20-year-old a chance to respond to some long-standing family banter from older brother Raymond who until now had bragging rights when it came to at least one part of their international football careers.
Currently leading the line for Lae City Dwellers in the Telikom National Soccer League, Raymond Gunemba also knows the honour of representing his country with a handful of senior caps and an international strike against Singapore to his credit.
But at U-23 level, a pair of goals that bookended a 5-2 defeat to New Zealand in the 2008 Olympic qualifiers, have long been held over his little sister, much to her chagrin.
“It was my dream for a long time,” said Meagan Gunemba after Saturday’s match.
“Starting with the U-17s and the U-20s I was dreaming of scoring against New Zealand.
“My elder brother had scored two against New Zealand and he’s been challenging me to score against them.”
Gunemba the younger stormed onto the international scene in 2014 as the first non-Australasian winner of the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship Golden Ball award and missed the Golden Boot title by a solitary goal.
Elevated to the senior side for the OFC Women’s Nations Cup later that year, the then-18 year old validated her selection with four goals in the tournament, including a hat trick on debut against the Cook Islands.
But as it had done at age group level, a goal against New Zealand eluded her, until now.
But now with the seal broken – as well as Papua New Guinea’s 20-year goal scoring drought against the Football Ferns – Gunemba has no plans of stopping there.
While Meagan’s pace and technical ability has seen her bump her senior international goal tally into double figures already she also has a charming confidence to match. She sounded a warning to Raymond, and perhaps to the Football Ferns, that she want to put the argument to bed for good in Auckland on Tuesday.
“Now I’ve done it but Raymond scored two and I’ve scored one, so I’ll make sure I score two in New Zealand.”


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