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New generation boosts Papua New Guinea

www.oceaniafootball.com looks at Papua New Guinea’s Class of 2014 as they prepare to take on Venezuela U-15 and Slovakia U-15 in Nanjing.
Coached by Margaret Aka, Papua New Guinea U-15 Girls’ national team has a tough task ahead if they wish to go one step further than four years ago.
Drawn in a difficult section with Venezuela and Slovakia, Papua New Guinea will rely on a squad with little or no experience of football outside of their own country.
And that’s the point – the Youth Olympic Football tournaments are aimed at giving rising young athletes their first taste of top level competition.
FIFA Women’s Player of the Century, Sun Wen, believes this tournament is vital in opening doors for the players of tomorrow.
“FIFA have long been focused on youth development, with both U-17 and U-20 World Cups adding to the Olympic Football Tournaments. The Youth Olympic Football Tournaments are the newest attempts to reach out to youngsters,” she says.
Four years ago, Papua New Guinea lost 1-0 to Iran and 4-0 to eventual Bronze medallists Turkey in the group stage.
But their tournament concluded with an exciting yet ultimately disappointing 4-2 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago in a penalty shoot-out after Grace Steven and Carolyn Obi saw their spot-kicks miss.
Then coach, Mick Robinson, reflected upon the defeat and experience overall.
“Both teams played quite well and it was good game. It was exciting for the crowds when the game went to the shoot-out.
“But for us, losing the game in such a way was cruel but the girls played their best, so I was still happy,” he remembers.
“We saved out best game until last against Trinidad and Tobago but it proved difficult for our girls compared to what they are used to.
“The tournament was very high profile and the occasion was very big but we were very happy with the progress,” he adds.
In this year’s second edition of the Youth Olympic Football tournament, Papua New Guinea will look to use their experiences of the inaugural competition to do better.
Four players from the Yamoros club could hold the key for the youngsters with defender Margaret Joseph, midfielder Marity Sep and strikers Joanne Miping and Cheryl Ling providing the spine of the team.
Barra club also has a significant presence with defenders Natasha Sagem, Francisca Mani and midfielder Loretta Yagum thrown into the mix.
Papua New Guinea’s campaign begins with debutants Venezuela at Wutaishan Stadium on 14 August.
Their next clash is with Slovakia six days later.
The other group contains hosts China, Mexico and Namibia.
The top two from each section advance to the semi-finals with the third in each meeting in the fifth place playoff on August 25 at Jiangning Sports Centre Stadium.
The gold and bronze medal matches are the next day.
Ends


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