It was a big week for women’s football in the Pacific as a beach soccer title was awarded in the Cook Islands, while Fijian striker Trina Davis made history as she joined the professional ranks and the Women’s National Soccer League in Papua New Guinea closes in on the playoffs.
The Ladies in Black claimed gold in the women’s division in the CIFA Beach Soccer Championship in the Cooks.
During a tense final round last week the Ladies in Black beat the Titikaveka Blue Blazes 4-1, which proved enough as the other results worked in their favour.
The Vibers took the silver medal with a 2-0 win over the PFC Maidens, which left the Maidens in third.
The final round of the men’s competition has been postponed but will likely be completed this month.
The Cook Islands Football Association is also running a referee training course during March and April for aspiring officials. More information can be found on their Facebook page.
Davis has become the first women’s player from Fiji to sign a professional contract after linking with Israel’s ASA Tel Aviv.
The 19-year-old, who is based in the United States, is determined to help lead Fiji to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023. More information on her historic signing can be found here.
Meanwhile, the draws for the Fijian men’s and women’s national leagues have been released.
Both are set to get underway this Saturday with a doubleheader between the men’s and women’s team of Labasa and Ba at Subrail Park in Labasa.
On Sunday, in the Fiji FA Women’s Super League, Nadroga will play Suva at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoga while Tailevu Naitasiri will meet Rewa at ANZ Stadium in Suva.
In the Vodafone Premier League, Sunday’s matches include Nadroga v Nadi in Sigatoga, Suva hosting Rewa at ANZ Stadium and Lautoka FC defending their home turf of Churchill Park against Navua FC.
In Papua New Guinea’s Women’s National Soccer League, NCD Hekari United pulled off the biggest result of the season with a 3-1 win over Southern Conference champions FC Genesis.
Hekari finished second in the Southern Conference to earn a spot in the playoffs and will take plenty of confidence into the finals.
In the conference’s other results, NCD FC beat Amoana 3-1 and POM City FC beat POM City Academy 5-1.
There’s one round left to play in the Northern Conference and the two teams who will advance to the playoffs have been confirmed with Poro FC in first and Sepik FC in second.
During the weekend, Poro beat Markham Raings FC 4-1, Sepik hammered Morobe Tulip 12-0, Bara FC thumped Pacific Gardens FC 7-0 and Tusbab Laidamon FC toppled Rainy Lae FC 3-0.
In New Caledonia, the draw for this year’s Super Ligue Futsal competition has been confirmed and it is set to begin on March 13. More information can be found here.
The final round of the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership in New Zealand experienced disruptions due to a move in COVID-19 Alert Levels.
The match between Eastern Suburbs AFC and Hawke’s Bay United was unable to be played on Sunday as Suburbs could not leave Auckland to travel for the match.
This game will determine who claims the fourth and final spot in the semi-finals; if Suburbs win, they will be in, otherwise it will be Waitakere United.
In the other Round 14 fixtures, Team Wellington beat the Hamilton Wanderers 3-2 on Saturday in a dress rehearsal for their upcoming semi-final clash, Canterbury United beat the Wellington Phoenix Reserves 5-1 to finish their season on a high, while the table-topping Auckland City drew 2-2 with Waitakere.
The match between Eastern Suburbs and Hawke’s Bay is scheduled to be played next week and the playoffs have been delayed a week to allow for the latest coronavirus flare up in Auckland to subside.
New Zealand Football have also confirmed how they will proceed with their new National League Championship for 2021.
The competition has been brought in to help the long-term sustainability of the game for both men and women. More information on the format can be found here.
The S-League in the Solomon Islands produced a bundle of goals during the past week of matches.
In last Wednesday’s mid-week fixtures, Central Coast beat Laugu United 3-1 before Real Kakamora dispatched the Malaita Kingz 6-2.
The goals didn’t stop during the weekend either as the Henderson Eels asserted their dominance at the top of the table with a 15-0 romp over the Kingz on the back of seven goals to Joses Nawo.
In other matches, Isabel United beat Kossa 9-0, Marist stepped past Laugua United 5-1 and the Solomon Warriors beat Central Coast 2-0.
This week’s Wednesday fixtures include a clash between Marist and Real Kakamora, while Honiara City will meet Southern United.
The league is scheduled to wrap up this month and with only a handful of matches left, the Eels have a seven-point lead over the defending champion Solomon Warriors.
Football’s return in Tahiti has continued and the league-leading AS Dragon were held to a 1-1 draw by AS Venus on Saturday.
The result left Venus in fifth place on a congested ladder while the second-placed Pirae hammered Tefana 5-0 and they are only two points behind Dragon with a game in hand.
In the weekend’s other matches, Pueu beat Arue 6-1, the Jeunes Tahitiens topped Central Sport 3-2, Manu Ura edged Mataiea 2-1 and Excelsior defeated Olympic Mahina 3-1.
The Tonga Football Association held a retreat last week as they focused on their plans for the future with the theme of Lead the Change As One. Read about the event here.