Ageva misses qualifier


THE divisive nature of soccer politics has taken a toll on PNG women’s Under 20 striker Nicollete Ageva, who was snubbed for the U-20 Fifa World Cup qualifier in August in New Zealand.
Ageva was devastated by the news of her omission from the PNG side, relayed to her by her father, Jonathan, last week.
The 19-year-old Bougainville girl confirmed that U-20 women’s coach Rachel Wadunah told her dad that she would not be part of the training team for the upcoming U-20 OFC women’s tournament in August.
“It is devastating for me. I feel very down and am sad for being left out of my teammates. I didn’t expect this to happen,” Ageva said.
“I’m hoping for the best with my coach Rachel and PNGFA to come up with arrangement so I can be allowed to play with the team.”
Ageva said in fact her dad asked her to forget about football and concentrate on her schooling.
“I have to repeat Grade 11 after the World Cup tournament last year,” she said.
Her dad was also devastated as there were pre-arrangements for her to be based in Madang under coach Wadunah as she prepared for the U-20 event, however, when coach Wadunah forwarded the list to PNGFA secretary-general Dimirit Mileng, she was asked to leave Ageva out because of her affiliation to the suspended Bougainville Soccer Association.
It means that the Bougainvillean who scored PNG’s only World Cup goal at any level will not be travelling for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against New Zealand in August. Bougainville Soccer Federation was suspended by PNGFA for not meeting affiliation requirements as per the Electoral Code which president Justin Helele categorically denied.
“The reason for suspension is because we were supporting John Kapi Natto for the (PNGFA) president’s position along with 11 other associations,” he said.
Ageva’s goal lifted the home crowd in Port Moresby’s National Football Stadium, Papua New Guinea were locked at 1-1 with the Asian heavyweights.
Coach Wadunah confirmed that she had Ageva’s name in the squad but was directed by Mileng to leave her out of the squad and look for a replacement.
She told The National that she was uneasy with the direction stating that Ageva was one of the top strikers in this age group.
“I will try to do my best to see if Papua New Guinea Footbal Association can change their mind and allow Ageva to be part of the team,” she said.
President of the Bougainville Soccer Association Justin Halele confirmed that Ageva received the disappointing news on Saturday when travelling to the airport to make her way out from Buka.
Halele said it doesn’t matter that PNGFA has suspended his association but he questioned what justification is there, when players of another suspended association, LFA were part of the Kapuls team to Tahiti recently.
Neither the acting PNGFA president John Wesley Gonjuan nor general-secretary Mileng could be reached for comment yesterday.

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