By Elijah Lavett – EMTV Sports, Port Moresby
The PNG men’s and women’s national football team are determined to win gold at this year’s Pacific Games in Samoa. Both teams have named their train-on squad with the final 23 member team to be announced in June.
In the previous Pacific Games, the PNG men’s team created history by winning bronze after more than 20 years. The women’s team, who are regarded as the queens of football in the Pacific, displayed their supremacy on the field going back-to-back, winning gold in the finals against New Caledonia.
This year, the women will be out to defend their gold, while the men, will be aiming to better their performance from the previous games.
Laiwaden FC Coach, Bob Morris, has been appointed to lead the men’s team with Harrison Kamake to assist. Frederica Sakette will coach the women’s team assisted by Margaret Aka.
The men’s first training camp will be held from the 15th to the 24th of April and the women on the 29th of April to the 2nd of May. The first men’s training camp has been split into two groups which will see Port Moresby-based players train from the 15th to the 17th of April, while Lae, Madang and Highlands region-based players will have theirs from the 22nd to the 24th in Lae. Many of the players have been selected from the Kumul Petroleum National Soccer League and others who play overseas.
The final 30 players selected will have a second training camp in Lae from the 20th to the 23rd of May while the women will have their final training camp in Port Moresby from 15th of June to the 30th before the announcement of the final 23 players.
In a lead up to the Pacific Games, the men’s team will play two international friendlies scheduled for June.