by Elijah Lavett – EM TV Sport, Port Moresby
The Papua New Guinea squad for the 2016 OFC U-17 Women’s Championship in the Cook Islands ended their two-week training camp last Friday.
The majority of the squad is made of the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games team who played in China last year. U15 striker Belinda Giada has returned to the fold along with Margaret Joseph, both of whom have been outstanding playing a part in the senior side.
With women’s football development on the rise in Papua New Guinea, PNG Football Association (PNGFA) has benefited most from these programs to select a team that may be a threat to others.
Youth development has come under the spotlight across the country in recent years with development centres and centres of excellence established across PNGFA member associations.
These have played a strong supporting role in the player’s selection.
Every member of the squad has been developing on the domestic scene and the coaches have seen some excellent skills emerge during the two weeks camp.
25 players will make it into the second camp starting from November 23 through to December 19, with the list yet to be formalised.
Papua New Guinea has been put in Pool B for the tournament, alongside Fiji, Vanuatu and host nation the Cook Islands. The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals, with the eventual winner securing direct qualification to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016.