Excitement is in the air as Papua New Guinea U-18 team wraps-up final home preparations and head to Vanuatu on Tuesday for the inaugural OFC Youth Development Tournament 2019.
Anthony Pakakota’s boys have been in camp for the past four weeks and are satisfied with their progress.
“Our focus has been on improving our structural play. The boys picked up well and I’m confident we will be competitive out there.”Pakakota said.
“The core of the team is made up of boys which took part in the qualifiers for the U17 World Cup last year. We just doing few changes and added few new players to blend them with the overall structure.”
Pakakota knows that the tournament is a development tournament, however he was planning to use it as his players preparation for next year’s qualifier for the U20 World Cup.
“It’s a development tournament so will use it to learn and at the same time bring what we have trained and learn into the tournament.”
Pakakota’s boys will play their first match against Tahiti on Thursday at Korman Stadium in Port Vila.
Papua New Guinea has been drawn alongside Tahiti and Estonia in Group A while Group B is made up of New Caledonia, India and host Vanuatu.
New Caledonia arrived in Port Vila on Sunday, Estonia and Tahiti are expected to touchdown today, while India and Papua New Guinea will be the last teams to arrive on Tuesday.
The U-18 tournament is being organised with UEFA through UEFA Assist Programme, with the focus not on winning a title, but on the development aspects an international event can provide and kicks-off on Thursday.
Story Courtesy: Papua New Guinea Football Association