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PNG SET TO HOST FIRST OFC WOMEN’S TOURNEY

By David Susuve

WITH a week to go, preparations for the inaugural Oceania Football Confederations (OFC) Women’s Champions League in Port Moresby is well underway.

The nine-days tournament schedule to run from June 1 – 10 at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium is expected to host top clubs from the Solomon Islands, Samoa, New Caledonia, Fiji and PNG.

The tournament was originally due to be played from March 9 – 18, but was rescheduled due to teams having issues with their visa process.

During a chat on EMTV Sports show ‘Sports Scene’,Local Organising Committee Chairman, Gordon Manub said that Papua New Guinea Football Association has been working in close consultation with OFC on the logistical arrangements and things are pretty much looking set.

Manub said the establishment of the tournament is expected to provide a pathway for an OFC club to represent the Oceania Region at the FIFA Women’s Club World Cup in 2025.

He said it’s been a hectic process in trying to stage the tournament here on our shores.

“We had to work over-time to meet OFC requirements with most of this relating to preparation of training pitches that met FIFA standard.”

The venues that would be used for our visiting teams to train will be the PNG Football Stadium, Sir John Guise outdoor stadium and the Bisini soccer field.

PNGFA is very fortunate to host the inaugural tournament,” Manub said.

“For now, we will continue working closely with various partners to ensure the inaugural tournament is a success.

NCD governor Powes Parkop and his team from the active city program have rallied their support towards us to run awareness during the duration of the tournament,” added Manub.

This will give the opportunity to our visiting teams to advocate about gender equality in sports in schools and communities.

Manub said that “the committee will also be working with relevant government agencies such as National Airports Corporation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Immigration and Citizenship Authority, to ensure our teams coming into Port Moresby get the best of our services and hospitality.”

Manub added that they are also reaching out to any corporate entities or individuals who would want to offer assistance through financial support to contact the committee through the PNGFA Secretariat.

The teams are schedule to arrive in Port Moresby on May 28th and should depart back to their respective countries on June 11.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s top women’s football team Eastern Suburb have pulled out of the tournament citing concerns about costs, timing and security.

OFC have not made a public statement yet but are expected to redraw the tournament’s fixture.

Suburbs had been drawn in group (A) alongside Hekari United and Koloale (SI), while group (B) was to include Labasa (Fiji), AS Academy Feminine (New Caledonia) and Kiwi (Samoa).

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