By Jeremy Mogi – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea’s, National woman’s Football team, are heading to the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa with one goal in mind – to defend their title as the ‘Queens of Football’.
For Papua New Guinea’s most successful National Team, Samoa 2019 represents another opportunity to cement their place in history.
Successive gold medal placings since 1999, have pushed the women’s status, higher than ever before – and for coach Frederica Sakette, this current crop of players has all the makings to ensure those previous five gold medals, turn into number six.
“Although there are challenges on the way, leading to the Pacific Games, we went down to Fiji in the Nation’s Cup and that pushed us, and we are looking at nothing but gold.”
Sakette who captained the side 16 years to Pacific gold is banking on the experience of PNG’s longest serving player, and current captain, Deslyn Siniu, who incidentally served under her coach.
“I think with the new girls coming in, we are just getting our structures right, in terms of our defense and our attack and so the girls are slowly picking up the pace as well.”
Siniu is excited with the prospect of bringing home more glory for a side that has largely been overlooked over the years and has lacked the same funding and competition opportunities that their male counterparts have.
Something that Coach Sakette tries not to dwell on what-ifs when questioned about there being a lack of a national domestic competition, that would have seen her players more competitive.
“That was unfortunate that we didn’t have the NSL (national soccer league) although it was to start we didn’t have it, the girls were not to the expectations at first but just as well we were lucky to have early training camp.”
Siniu also believes that the squad has good young players coming through the ranks: “During the past two to three days the girls from outside centers have come in and have blended well, and the team is looking strong.”
Overseas-based Lucy Maino was ecstatic to be part of what is now her second Pacific Games:
“I’m excited to see what I can bring to this new team.”
The squad will depart by the 30th of June for Samoa.