Papua New Guinea coach Spencer Prior has named his squad that will face Panama in their FIFA Women’s World Cup™️ Play-Off Tournament 2023 match in Auckland, New Zealand.

The team has been based in New Zealand for the past month and has had warm-up games against a Wellington Phoenix men’s age-grade side, and a local Auckland women’s team.

Margaret Joseph talks about PNG’s upcoming fixture (ENGLISH)

Margaret Joseph talks about PNG’s upcoming fixture (PIDGIN)

Midfielder Daisy Winas is excited about facing the Panamanians, saying that “the girls are very happy and the place (New Zealand) is so nice. We are excited about the first game and we are happy with the trainings we’ve had”.

Calista Maneo, who is uncapped in international football, says that she is feeling good ahead of the first game.

“Training is good, every day we are improving. We are getting there.”

Defender Margaret Joseph admitted though that they don’t know much about their upcoming opponents.

“I’ve been watching some footage of them, as a defender I’ve been noticing that their forwards are very fast. We just just have to watch their long cues and work on our communication.”

PNG are the five-time Pacific Games gold medallists, qualifying for the inter-continental play-offs after winning the OFC Women’s Nations Cup in Fiji earlier in 2022. This tournament will see them face-off against nine other nations who are also vying for the remaining three spots at the World Cup, which will be held in Australia and New Zealand later this year.

Other first round fixtures in the tournament are: Cameroon v Thailand, Senegal v Haiti (both Saturday NZT) and Chinese Taipei v Paraguay (Sunday).

Papua New Guinea v Panama

Sunday 19 February – 7.00pm (NZT) kick-off

North Harbour Stadium, Auckland

The PNG squad is:

Faith Kasiray, Betty Sam, Leah Lou (goalkeepers), Lavina Hola, Margaret Joseph, Lucy Maino, Olivia Upaupa, Anastasia Gunemba, Michaelyn Butubu, Shalom Waida, Gloria Laeli (defenders), Yvonne Gabong, Rumona Morris, Ramona Padio, Rayleen Bauelua,  Kesai Kotome, Phillis Pala, Daisy Winas (midfielders), Calista Maneo, Charlie Yanding, Georgina Kaikas, Nenny Elipas, Asaiso Gossie (forwards)