The journey for the six teams participating in July’s OFC U-19 Women’s Championship has been outlined following the Official Draw, held at the OFC Academy in Auckland, New Zealand this afternoon.
Defending champions New Zealand are set to open the competition against the hosts of the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea after they were drawn into positions one and two respectively by OFC Competitions Director Chris Kemp.
Kemp said it will be a thrilling way to open the round-robin tournament, which runs from 11-24 July and is being hosted by the Confederation at Ngahue Reserve in St Johns, Auckland.
“That we will have what is traditionally the region’s two strongest female sides opening the tournament means we will be setting the tone for the competition on day one,” Kemp said.
“New Zealand have a strong record in this age group having recorded some impressive victories during the OFC U-20 Women’s Championship in 2015.
“Now, as more nations make women’s football development a priority we expect to see some competitive matches here in Auckland come July.”
Drawn into positions three and four were Tonga and Fiji, who will meet in the 12.30pm encounter on Match Day 1.
Tonga have a strong women’s football development programme and have had some unlucky results in recent youth tournaments. Fiji are also making inroads in the women’s game and in the 2016 OFC U-17 Women’s Championship secured a third-place finish after beating New Caledonia 3-2 in the play-off.
Rounding out the opening day’s action will be Samoa and New Caledonia, positions five and six respectively.
Samoa earned their best result at U-20 women’s level in 2015 when they finished runners-up to New Zealand in the round-robin event in Tonga.
That event was a forgettable one for New Caledonia after they suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of New Zealand, however with a fourth place finish in the Cook Islands last year improvement is the women’s camp is underway.
The OFC U-19 Women’s Championship is being held at Ngahue Reserve in Auckland, New Zealand from 11-24 July 2017 and is being hosted by the Oceania Football Confederation.