(Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek: Koloale FC coach Crystal Bakolo addressing her players at training on eve of their tournament debut)

Koloale FC has waited a week in Port Moresby for its first chance to impress in the inaugural OFC Women’s Champions League.The Solomon Islands champions watched on with interest as Labasa Women FC battled Kiwi FC and AS Academy Féminine played Hekari United in the opening matches on Thursday.

For Koloale FC coach Crystal Bakolo, the Fijian side presents a huge hurdle, but her team enters the match with confidence.“We have a fully fit squad to pick from.” Bakolo said. “Labasa is a big strong team but watching yesterday has given us ideas about how to play them.” She added.

Bakolo says her side will look to use her side’s pace, but maintaining possession will be key. “We want to retain the ball and not give it away easily.” Bakolo said.

OFC Women’s Champions League 2023, Koloale Training session ahead of their 1st game, Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Friday 2nd June 2023. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

The match kicks off at Midday local time followed by a must win match for both local side Hekari United and Samoa’s Kiwi FC at 5pm.

Both sides lost their opening fixtures and in a round robin format where each team plays four games, another defeat will rule them out of title contention. Hekari United coach Ericsson Komeng admitted his side’s preparation for their 2-1 loss to AS Academy Féminine wasn’t ideal, arriving to the stadium less than an hour before kickoff.

“Preparation is the most important part of play football, and we have to prepare well to play a tough match and our journey to the ground was a bit rusty for us, so we have to learn from it.” Komeng said.