By HENRY MORABANG
TRAINING and studying at the same time is hectic for Madang lass Jacobeth Kikoli.
Jacobeth, as she likes to be called, is among a crop of young players trying to make the playing roster for next month’s International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Port Moresby.
Though her father Otto Bani Kikoli is from Aibom village, near the Chambri Lakes in East Sepik, Jacobeth considers herself a Madang.
Her mum Mathilda is part Warames and Bosmun in Bogia district.
Speaking from Madang, Jacobeth’s mum said the family were proud of her being part of the PNG U20 team preparing for the World Cup.
She said that the family hoped she would make the final cut.
Although her father was former rugby league player in Madang, Jacobeth wanted to follow the s of her uncles Lawrence Lako and former Madang Fox striker Terence Sisu.
Matilda said her only worry was for her daughter to continue her education and thanked Goroka Grammar School for supporting the PNG U20 players continue her education while training full-time.
This week was hectic as Kikoli tried to balance football training and her Grade 10 examinations.
The fifth born in the family of eight, Kikoli tries to juggle education and football.
Like many of her peers, Jacobeth started her football career at the age of 12.
She started playing for Wagsford in Madang before teaming up with Marlins, where her talents did not go unnoticed.
While playing for Marlins, she was selected in the Madang side to play in the PNGFA-sanctioned youth tournament in 2014, where she topped-scored with 12 goals and won the Golden Boot award.
Conrad Wadunah, who followed her football career, described Kikoli as an exciting player.
Kikoli told The National that the highlight of her career was playing with the PNG senior women’s team against New Zealand for Rio 2016 qualifier which New Zealand won 7-0 and went on to represent the region at the Olympics.
Coach Lisa Cole called her into the squad as part of the build-up for the future senior women’s team.
Kikoli said as an individual, she learnt many new things from overseas trips with the PNG U20 women’s team.
“I have learnt to respect others and how to manage time and I have gained experience playing at the top level during the tour.
After the World Cup, Kikoli said she would go back to Madang and teach other young girls to become better soccer players.
By HENRY MORABANG