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Kaipu making strides

Marie Kaipu celebrates with teammate Yvonne Gabong. Credit: OFC via Phototek

Papua New Guinea striker Marie Kaipu is pleased to be back in action with the senior women’s team, and even happier to have picked up where she left off in the 2015 Pacific Games final.

Kaipu scored the lone goal against New Caledonia in the final at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium to secure a fourth consecutive gold medal for her side back in 2015.

After using the first game against Samoa as an opportunity to settle into the competition, Kaipu found it in excess when taking on the hosts New Caledonia, netting five of her side’s six goals.

Ever modest, Kaipu said all she did was give her best.

“I was ready to play and then I just went out there and did my best,” she said.

“My coaches gave me some advice, and I just took that and followed what they said. Coach Margaret (Aka) said if I get the ball I just have to shoot and that’s what I did.”

Kaipu said she seems to have luck against New Caledonia, but she hopes her goalscoring tally will continue to grow against other opponents in the competition too.

Kaipu hasn’t had an easy run in life and although she was pegged to take part in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, circumstances ruled her out of that adventure.

However she still relishes the opportunities she had as part of the wider squad leading into the competition.

“I was able to go back to school for six months and it helped me a lot. I wanted to continue but I had to pull out from the team and the opportunity was lost.

“Now I continue to read books and I hope I can go back to school one day.”

One of the reasons Kaipu couldn’t continue was because she became a mother at a very young age which some teammates and schoolmates didn’t look at too kindly.

However Kaipu said the experience helped build her resolve and she continues to play football to inspire her son.

“I’m very proud to be playing football and representing my country. My son is happy to watch me play and has said ‘one day I will be like mummy and play football’.

“I’m so happy and proud to be inspiring him.”

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