PORT MORESBY: The Papua New Guinea Football Association has targeted the two OFC youth tournaments next year as important dates and have begun their preparations in earnest with a planned national youth championship next month.

The PNGFA confirmed yesterday that a combined Under 19 and Under 23 men’s championship will take place in Goroka from 5-9 July 2004. The purpose of the tournaments will be to identify players for Papua New Guinea’s national squads for the 2005 OFC Under 20 and OFC Under 17 Qualifying Tournaments set for January and March 2005 respectively.

According to PNGFA acting operations manager John Wesley, six centres have so far confirmed their participation at the tournament in Goroka. The associations are Hekari, New Britain Palm Oil, Wau, Tabubil, Madang and hosts Goroka.

He added that high profile soccer associations Port Moresby, LFA and Lahi have yet to indicate their participation.

Wesley also confirmed the last PNGFA sanctioned tournament for this year will be the national men and women club championships in Lae from September 13-18. The winner of the men’s leg will be eligible to take part in the OFC club championships in Tahiti next year in April.