December 7, 2023

Nations Cup trophy on tour in PNG: Coach calls for focus on grassroots

Following their historic OFC Women’s Nations Cup win, the winner’s trophy is touring Papua New Guinea.

PNG NWT co-captains Yvonne Gabong and Meagan Gunemba with crew from Air Niugini and the OFC Women’s Nations Cup trophy. (Photo: PNGFA Media)

PNG beat Fiji 2-1 in the OFC Women’s Nations Cup final in Suva, Fiji on July 30th, to claim the nations first OFC Nations Cup victory for either the men or the women.

Now the trophy from the tournament win will tour the various provinces of the country, starting in Madang this weekend.

The team’s Madang-based players will be in attendance, making it a good opportunity to get autographs or photos with the players.

The trophy will visit Lae after its Madang leg, before going to the Highlands region and back to Port Moresby, according to the Post Courier.

The PNGFA hope the OFC Nations Cup win and trophy tour will spark an interest in women’s football.

And that interest is much needed according to national team assistant coach Edna Thomas.

“I came out from Lae Soccer Association and I have seen that there is no support for the women’s team,” she said to Post Courier.

‘We don’t have small girls participating in the sport and it seems that in five to ten years’ time, we might have no girls like these current players because we don’t have a development path-way for soccer in the association.”

“I want to see a lot of young females from as young as 12 years be active in the sport. We start developing them in the sport now, later we will see more great players in the future,” she said.

PNG national team captain Meagan Gunemba, who is travelling with the trophy to Madang, also raised the same issues.

“I appeal to the national and provincial government, business houses, and private and government sectors to at least consider funding the growth and development of the code of soccer, especially for women. I believe with support from organisations, PNG soccer will go extra mile and beyond,” she said.

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