By HENRY MORABANG
WITH less than three weeks left before the Nov 3 kick-off of the Federtion of the International Football Associations (Fifa) Under-20 Women’s World Cup, Lavina Hola is hoping her versatility can help her win a spot in Papua New Guinea’s playing roster for the event.
Usually a fullback, the young Gulf and Northern lass can play any position on the field.
Her all-round performance made it easier for the PNG U20 coach Lisa Cole to move her around and try her out in different roles in the team.
Hola is one of three players vying for the goalkeeper’s position in the starting 11 for the World Cup.
The other two are Lace Kunei and Abigail Metta.
Hola said her mum and elder sister Masera lured her into football.
As one among a crop of PNG’s future senior players, the 20-year-old goalkeeper is committed and dedicated to her training routines.
Despite the cold at the National Sports Institute where the team is based, the Mungkas player (Port Moresby Soccer Association) wants to see herself in the team taking the field come Nov 3.
She said she started playing soccer when she was a nine-year-old.
She was plucked out of the defunct Gerehu Soccer Association to represent the country.
She made her debut in 2010 when she was part of the PNG team taking part in the first U15 OFC tournament in Auckland, New Zealand.
Two years later, in 2012, she was drafted into the senior women’s team but she travelled again to New Zealand with the U17 national team, and in 2014, she completed the young age group to play in the U20 team for PNG.
Hola did not take part in the Pacific Games but was at hand to support the PNG senior women’s team, who won their fourth consecutive gold medal.
“I was excited to learn that I was in the U20 training squad for the World Cup,” she said.
Hola said the highlight of her football career was being named in the training squad and travelling places, including the USA.
Like her peers, she has learnt many things on the trip on how to tackle the game when under pressure and cope when the intensity of the game was high.
She said she respected her coach Cole as much as her other team-mates.
While having had opportunities to travel and play overseas, one of the biggest challenges was playing at home.
Hola said she hoped to return to her local club, Mungkas and share what she learned as an U20 player.
She said she was now looking forward to take on Brazil in the opening match, followed by Sweden and the People’s Republic of Korea.
By HENRY MORABANG