Photo Credit: Pacific Games News Service
Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia have won gold in the women’s and men’s football tournaments respectively, at the Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
It represents the sixth Pacific Games gold medal for Papua New Guinea in women’s football, with victory coming after they overpowered Fiji 4-1.
An early goal in the first-half, followed by two late second-half strikes set Frederica Sakette’s side up for victory, with a late Fiji consolation replied to with a fourth Papua New Guinea goal to settle matters.
Assistant Coach Ericson Komeng was delighted with the team’s performance, considering the low age profile in the squad.
“We came here with a very young team,” he admitted.
“We just let the girls know that there are some girls that won the fifth one, the fourth, the third, the first, and the second. You have to make your own history. That’s what the girls did today and during the tournament.”
In the men’s tournament, New Caledonia broke local hearts with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over hosts Solomon Islands to take home the gold medal.
Solomon Islands twice pegged their opponents back, both strikes coming from John Orobulu, as the contest swung back and forth.
Ultimately penalties were to be the decider and following misses from David Supa and goal-scoring hero Orobulu, New Caledonia kept their cool to secure a nervy victory and the gold medal.
Head Coach Johann Sidaner was proud of his side’s efforts in the fact of a raucous and partisan home crowd.
“It was a tough match going up against Solomon Islands on home turf with a huge crowd. Despite the heat, we held on tight right until the end,” Sidaner said.