Bien-Aime lauds PNG


THE CHAIRMAN of the Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup organising committee believes the staging of the tournament can help lift the profile of women’s football in Papua New Guinea.
Sonia Bien-Aiem, pictured, made this comment in an exclusive with The National.
She is a member of the Fifa executive council.
“Women’s football is not popular and hope the event increases the participation of young girls and women in football,” Bien-Aiem said.
“I hope with the excitement and popularity of the women’s World Cup, it can improve development programmes and create a progressive legacy for women’s football in the country.”
The 44-year-old president of the Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association (in the Caribbean) is the first woman to hold a non-female designated voting position on Fifa’s executive committee.
She said she was overwhelmed seeing Papua New Guineans embracing the World Cup and attending the tournament in numbers.
Bien-Aime, one of the few Fifa executive members who arrived in the country a week before the tournament, was impressed with the set-ups and the organisation led by Seamus Marten.  “Apart from attending matches, I have been moving around places in Port Moresby and have experienced and seen that people are open and friendly.
“They even smile to strangers, which you hardly see in other parts of the globe,” the Fifa women’s executive said.
Bien-Aime said so far it was a good tournament and she would not hesitate backing PNG host Fifa-sanctioned tournaments in the future.

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