PNG Football Association has announced its squad for the OFC U-19 Championship 2022 in Tahiti.
The tournament runs from September 7-25 (New Zealand time), with the two semi-final winning teams qualifying through to represent Oceania at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Indonesia 2023™.
The squad is made up of ten players who have played in National Soccer League (NSL) including two players who play in Premier Leagues in Australia, while others are respective players from PNGFA Member Associations, who were selected from two split camps held in Port Moresby and Lae respectively. The final squad has players from all the 4 regions of PNG.
Among those named in the squad includes 2021 NSL season players which includes Madang’s NSL experienced campaigner Jason Wadunah (Tusbab Stallions), Rex Naime (Hekari) and Nigel Kiaka (Northern Youth), Joshua Urro (Morobe Wawens), Jeremiah Kamake (Northern Youth), Alfred Tinge (Northern Youth), Michael Gambu (Northern Youth), and Maroa Tom (Southern Youth).
“Mr Pakakota said the team’s target is to make the top three in our Group in order to advance to the quarter-finals, but whatever extra mile to the semi-finals would really be a bonus for his team.”
Within the squad, three of the core players that have been part of the progressive international youth teams with OFC level playing experiences since 2018 (OFC U16 Championships, Honiara) and 2019 (U20 UEFA/OFC Tournament, Port Vila), includes Jason Wadunah, Lee-Navu Faunt (Brisbane, Redlands FC) and Joshua Urroh. For the rest of the squad, it would be their first OFC tournament and will look to the leadership of these three experienced players.
PNG Coach Anthony Pakakota said he is content with the team despite a very short notice and preparation. This OFC tournament was cancelled twice due to Covid-19 pandemic and was only confirmed in July.
Despite, late preparations, the boys are pushing themselves in training and surely there are more room for improvement
They’ve played one friendly match with the Hekari Youth NSL team (combined U23 and U19 players) during the week, winning 4-1.
However, the match exposed a few areas in our transitions to defending, which we’ll go back to training to correct.
“We’re hoping for one more friendly game in Tahiti before the first match with Fiji on 8th September 2022,” said Coach Pakakota.
Papua New Guinea: Jeezreel APISING, Issac BASA, Lee-Navu FAUNT, Michael GAMBU, Kuman GENE, Jese GRESE, Charles HAYES, Cyril KADIKO, Jeremiah KAMAKE, Nigel KIAKA, Randell KUAPAITAM, Balthasar MARI, Jahnnel MEIO, Nick NAA’RU, Rex NAIME, Vianney NONENG, Felix SUAIMBAU, Jarvin SUDII, Alfred TINGE, Christian JIMMY, Maroa TOM, Joshua URRO, Jason WADUNAH, Claus WALI, Jezshril WARREN, Hamray WAYNE. Head coach: Anthony PAKAKOTA.
Group B – Draw
Sept 08, 1700 Fiji vs PNG
Sept 11, 2000 Tahiti vs PNG
Sept 14, 1700 PNG vs Tonga