The final Papua New Guinea U-20 women’s team for the upcoming FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup has been announced by coach Lisa Cole with national team veterans Ramona Padio and Yvonne Gabong forming the core of the 21-strong squad.
Cole trimmed the squad down from the 26 that have been training under her over the past year at the National Sports Institute in Goroka.
The final squad will see young players make the step up to senior football, with U-17 players Margaret Joseph, Belinda Giada, Loretta Yagum, Selina Unamba and Faith Kasiray all selected.
“I’m pretty happy with the team, which comprises some experienced and talented U-17 players. They include several who have already played for the PNG senior women’s side,” Cole said.
Cole will be banking on the leadership and skills of her experienced core of players including Jacobeth Kikoli, Padio, Gabong, Gloria Laeli and Lace Kunei, to keep the hosts competitive in their Group A fixtures.
Although five players were unlucky to make the final cut for the World Cup, Cole reminded the players that they will still be a part of the future development of the team.
“They are part of the development squad for the senior women’s team,” she said.
Cole also announced that a captain will be named before the opening match on 13 November, before PNG take on Brazil in the second match of the evening.
PNG will face Sweden on 16 November and North Korea on 20 November in the battle for Group A.
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