Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2018 OFC U-16 Championship > Young Baniau builds on his father’s passion

Young Baniau builds on his father’s passion

Andrew Baniau ahead of his debut for Papua New Guinea. Credit: OFC via Phototek

Young Andrew Baniau and his dad Godfrey are both in love with football and wearing the national team jersey.

A former Papua New Guinea international goalkeeper, it was Godfrey’s pursuits on the football field which inspired his son to follow in his footsteps.

The younger Baniau, who hails from Madang Province, started playing in goal as an 11-year-old and has been representing Madang in the PNGFA Youth Championship.

It was during this competition that Andrew caught the eye of Papua New Guinea U-16 coach Anthony Pakakota and how he came to know find himself representing the nation here in Honiara at the OFC U-16 Championship.

Sixteen-year-old Andrew was a pillar in the Papua New Guinea goal mouth during their first match against Solomon Islands and despite conceding five goals made a number of impressive saves to keep their opponent relatively in check.

Being able to walk this path, as his father did before him, has been a dream come true for Andrew.

“It was my first international match and I am proud to represent my country at this level,” he said.

“I used to watch my father playing on this pitch wearing the PNG colours and it was like a dream come true for me now to play here and share that jersey that once belong to my father.

Andrew Baniau in action for Papua New Guinea against Solomon Islands. Credit: OFC via Phototek

“But I was disappointed to myself for letting the team down for not saving those five goals against Solomon Islands,” he said.

“I am not happy with the outcome of our first match. We’re going to try our best, forget about it and focus on our match against Vanuatu.

“My goal now is to try my best not to conceive any goals against Vanuatu.”

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