The lofty defender played every minute of the Kapul’s five OFC Nations Cup games in June and taking on the role of ‘most experienced’ member of the squad, he’s shown poise beyond his years on the pitch already this year and there is no doubt he will step up into the leadership role with ease.
Taking charge of the squad is Peter Gunemba and while this will be his first foray at the helm of a national team, the C Licence-holder is the father of Raymond and Meagan Gunemba who are the perfect product of their father’s abilities.
The PNG U-20 coach says winning the OFC U-20 Championship and qualify is not an unrealistic target for his team.
‘’Our objective for this tournament it is to reach the final,’’ Gunemba says
‘’I think we have the players to win the tournament. It comes down to them. If they go in there and play according to the way we want to (it is possible),’’ he says.
‘’The strength of the team at the moment is the way the boys are playing together as a team.
‘’So far I am happy with the way our preparation has been going. We have had some friendly games in Lae and two in Port Moresby. I can see there is some improvement in our preparation,’’ Gunemba says.
There will be eight teams participating which includes, Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Tahiti
Papua New Guinea share Group A with Vanuatu, New Caledinia and Fiji, all of whom are serious contenders in the race to Chile.
Papua New Guinea play their first game against New Caledonia and Gunemba knows how important the first game is to start the competition.
‘’We have respect for all our opponents. They are good teams as well. The first game is always the hardest. It won’t be a walk over game and we have to fight for every point.
Papua New Guinea play New Caledonia on September 03 at 12.00 (local time) at the Port Villa Stadium.
The OFC U-20 Championship is the Confederation’s premier youth competition and involves all 11 OFC Member Associations, with four competing in the Preliminary and eight in the Championship.
The 2016 tournament will be the 21st edition of this event which for the first time, offers two berths for Oceania at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
With 12 titles, former OFC Member Association Australia holds the record for the most wins in this age-group, while New Zealand, Tahiti and Fiji have also claimed regional victories over the 40-year history of the competition.
The 2016 OFC U-20 Championship will be held in Port Vila and Luganville in Vanuatu from 3-17 September 2016.