U17s set for qualifiers


A SPOT at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup would be the ultimate reward for the hard work the Papua New Guinea has put in since last November.
The PNG men’s U17 side enters their seventh Oceania Football Confederation U17 Championship in Tahiti from Feb 11-24, with qualification for the U17 World Cup in India in October the prize.
Coach Harrison Kamake said had been in training for the past eight weeks and their goal was to reach the final. “Our team comprises a blend of youth with experience and we are confident of doing well in the OFC Championship,” Kamake said.
The PNG side arrives in Auckland on Jan 19 for lead-up matches against the New Zealand and Fiji U17s. They will spend two weeks in New Zealand before leaving for Tahiti on Feb 7.
“I think we have the players to win the tournament,” Kamake said.
“It comes down to them. If they go in there and play according to the way we want to (it is possible).
“So far I am happy with the way our preparation have been going and the lead-up matches in New Zealand will help us to see where we are.” PNG are in Group A with New Caledonia, Tahiti and Vanuatu.
PNG plays their first game against New Caledonia on Feb 11 with Kamake saying the first match would be crucial for their prospects throughout the rest of the tournament.
“We respect all our opponents. They are all good teams.
“The first game against New Caledonia will probably our  hardest but we have to fight for every point.”
The PNG U17’s play a friendly against National Soccer League champions Lae City Dwellers today as part of their preparations. The Dwellers, who are preparing for the OFC Champions League, are expected to use their 2017 squad in the 2pm match at the PNGFA Academy, 11-Mile, Lae. The entry fee is K2 across the board. PNG U17 squad: Alben Pukue, Abraham Allen, Barthy Kerobin, Charley Ningikau, Dunstan Jeffrey, Dopson Noi, Emmanuel Simongi, Emmanuel Yopiyopi, Freeman Giwi, Graham Berigami, Jonathan Allen, Kimson Kapai, Milton Biwa, Oberth Simon, Ricky Wadunah, Samuel Detnom, Sylvester Luke, Thomas Kongragle, Wolfram Gregory, Yagi Yasasa.

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