The PNG U17 ended their preparations for the OFC U-17 Championship on a high with confidence boosting 2-0 win over Onehunga Mangere 2nd division team on Saturday at Mt Smart in Auckland, New Zealand.
Head coach Harrison Kamake was ecstatic about the victory and said the team is now in competition mode and looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead of them.
“We trained hard throughout the week working on our defensive structure in terms of countering the opposition’s overlapping and spread of general play by forcing play back and it payed off against Onehunge Mangere,” Kamake says.
PNG regained ball possession in the 32nd minute and attacked directly through the flanks then back through the middle that resulted in Yagi Yasasa scoring the first goal.
Captain Ricky Wadunah sealed the result with the second goal in the 37th minute after a good build up and combination play with Oberth Simon.
“We feel happy about the win – we tested our players and implemented our game plan to good effect and that is a good sign. However, we know that it will be a bigger challenge in the competition but I think we should take the momentum of this result with us,” Kamake says.
The PNG U17 played three friendly matches while in New Zealand against Fiji U17 national team, Auckland Central Academy and Onehunga Mangere 2nd division team.
The three friendlies in New Zealand have lifted our spirits and we are now focusing on the competition and what we are here to achieve,” Kamake says.
The PNG U17 left New Zealand this morning for Tahiti and Kamake said he wants the team to move into camp in Tahiti and keep their mind focused on the competition.
Papua New Guinea has been drawn in Group A against hosts Tahiti, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Their first clash will be against New Caledonia in the opening match of the competition on 11 February.