The inaugural OFC Women’s Champions League tournament in Papua New Guinea has received glowing praise from a key figure involved in women’s football at world governing body FIFA.

FIFA’s Women’s Football Competitions Manager Gianluca Famigli made the long journey to Port Moresby from Zurich and returns home full of optimism about the potential for women’s football in Oceania.

“The OFC Women’s Champions League has clearly demonstrated that the Pacific region has great potential. The players are talented, and each team is clearly trying to professionalise themselves with their roles, with the coaching staff and the coaching practice.” Famigli observed.

He arrived for the second week of the tournament, taking in two match days, and was wowed by events on and off the pitch.

“The experience of attending the OFC Women’s Champions League has been amazing. For us (FIFA) it’s very important to learn and get an understanding as much as possible on the ground because that’s the only way we can understand what football is about in the Pacific region.”

A personal highlight for Famigli was visits by the teams to local Port Moresby Primary schools.

“The engagement of the community was exceptional; it was extraordinary and that was something which really caught my heart. We saw the players and teams engaging directly with the schools. We could tell the kids were enthusiastic about meeting those players who are real role models in the region it was incredible.”

FIFA contributed financially to the tournament and Famigli felt the investment has paid dividends.

“FIFA really works hard to create new competitions and what OFC is doing is creating a new competition, a new platform for the players to showcase their talents and FIFA has invested in this tournament and was happy to support OFC in the job it is doing through the FIFA Women’s Football Competitions Fund for the Confederations.” Famigli said.