Due to women’s football’s ascendancy across Oceania, anticipation is building ahead of the upcoming OFC U-19 Women’s Championship 2019 tournament, which will mark another major milestone for the game with all eleven member associations competing for the first time in OFC history.

Hosted by the Cook Islands at the CIFA Complex in Matavera, the competition will take place between the 30th of August and 12th of September (31st of August and 13th of September NZ).

With a spot in next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on the line, the stakes couldn’t be any higher for the teams hoping to represent our region on the global stage.

Drawn into Group A the hosts will face Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu, while in Group B defending champions New Zealand will compete against American Samoa, Samoa and Tahiti.

Group C will consist of Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Tonga.

OFC Competition Director Chris Kemp is delighted to see all member associations involved in the tournament.

“It’s a historic moment for women’s football in Oceania and just shows how rapidly the game is developing in the Pacific. Women’s football has an enormous potential to put our region on the global map,” he said.

“It’s also exciting to see some of the best emerging talent on display and we are confident football fans across the Pacific will be treated to a keenly contested competition,” Kemp added.

Meanwhile, OFC Women’s Development Officer Emma Evans is hoping to see plenty of improvement from players who showed promise at U-16 level.

“This will be an exciting opportunity for all MAs to showcase their talent and compete for a spot at the 2020 U-20 Women’s World Cup and I am also looking forward to seeing a number of players who competed in the OFC U-16 Women’s Championship in 2017 to make the step up to the U-19 age group and see how much they have developed back in their regions over the last two years,” Evans explained.

The tournament will kick off on Friday,  30 August 10 am (local time) with the opening match between Group C rivals Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia with two Group A matches  to follow in the afternoon.

Solomon Islands will face Fiji at 1pm, before Vanuatu and Cook Islands play each other in the final match of the day at 4pm.

Group B’s matches will be played on Saturday with defending champions New Zealand and Samoa kicking off at 1pm followed by Tahiti and American Samoa who will face off at 4pm.

The winner of group A will play the winner of group B while the runner up of group B will play the winner of group C in the semifinals which will be played on Monday, 9 September.