The National, Wednesday April 22nd, 2015
TWENTY-year-old Abel Redenut, pictured, is ready to do all he can to help Papua New Guinea win gold in the men’s Under-23 soccer competition at July’s Pacific Games.
He said despite taking on the region’s best countries like Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Tahiti and the Solomon Islands, the man of mixed Oro and Morobe parentage said Papua New Guinea teams always lifted when playing at home.
He said after touring the Solomon Islands with coach Ricki Herbert, the side had grown in confidence and was much more settled and had self-belief as a team and as individuals.
Redenut, who is a Grade 12 student at De la Salle Secondary School outside Port Moresby, represented the country at the U17 and U20 levels in regional World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand and Fiji respectively.
He said the Games would be his third major tournament and the big plus was that it was on home turf.
The defender, who plays for Port Moresby in the National Soccer League, said he hoped to make the final 23-man team for the Games, which will be announced this week.
Redenut, who stands at 174cm and weighs 67kg, started playing soccer while a student at St Joseph’s International school in 2003.
“My grandfather (maternal) motivated me to play soccer, as he loves the sport so much,” Redenut said.
Apart from soccer, Redenut has played schoolboys rugby union but upon recollection, decided to focus his energy on soccer.
“We have a tough training regime at the High Performance Training Centre and I feel I’m ready physically.
“I am looking forward to hearing that final list and if I’m picked, I know I’ll give it 100 per cent.”
U23 assistant coach Reginald Davani said the soccer competition at the Pacific Games will be tough — nominating Fiji as the team to beat — but he said the players will be lifted by the support from the home crowd.