The Merifutbol program aims to encourage young girls who want to pursue their dreams in football to participate in football matches in their schools and the hosting of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will become a catalyst for more women to participate in football development programs in the country as Papua New Guinea prepares to host this world event in November.
Present to witness the launching of the Merifutbol program was PNG Football Association (PNGFA) general secretary Dimirit Mileng, PNG FA vice president Linda Wonuhali, Wewak Town mayor Honorable Charles Malenki, Wewak Football Association interim president, Matthew Chapok and Secretary for Justice & Attorney General Dr. Lawrence Kalinoe as a special guest.
The Kaltex Sports Oval came alive on Saturday when girls from Moem Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School, Kreer Primary School, Kaindi Primary School and Mongniol Primary School marched onto the field with their uniforms for the Merifutbol launching.
Despite the Wewak Football Association not being a full member of the PNGFA.PNGFA general secretary Dimirit Mileng in thanking the Wewak Football Association, especially Futsal said Wewak was selected for the Merifutbol program because of talents that have come from Futsal to represent PNG.
Mr. Mileng challenged the Wewak Football Association saying that they were there to launch the program but the onus was now on the management to nurture it and make the program grow.
Dr. Kalinoe who did the official kick off for the Merifutbol matches thanked PNGFA for believing in the Wewak Football Association and giving them the opportunity to nurture the young girls.
“We have three of our girls in the PNG U-20 team, two are injured. However, when they look at the stats, most of the players have Sepik blood in them,” Kalinoe said.
Dr. Kalinoe said they would try to provide whatever support they could give to the Wewak Football Association to ensure that the football continues to grow in East Sepik Province.
With the support of FIFA through legacy programs, each of the schools were given shoes, socks, sheen pads, uniforms and balls that will be used for the weekend Merfifutbol matches.