By HENRY MORABANG
SEVENTEEN-year-old Loretta Irene Yagum of Markham, Morobe, wants to emulate her aunt Wanting Yagum’s feat by representing the country at next month’s International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
Wanting never played in a World Cup in her playing days but did represent the country at the regional level against New Zealand and Australia before Australia left for Asia Football Confederation.
She was picked out of her Markham High School soccer team to play for Bara FC in the senior women’s competition in the Lae Football Association (LFA).
Her aunt Wanting said the family was looking forward for her selection in the final U20 team and were hopeful that she would make it.
A retired PNG international, Wanting Yagum exchanged her boots for a whistle and has been refereeing since 2006.
But it was through the tough Lae women’s football competition that Loretta gained a lot of experience and got picked to represent the country.
Loretta said apart from her aunt, she was also inspired by her dad, Michael who had starred for Blue Kumuls at LFA Park.
Her first international tour was the Youth Olympic Games in China, following which she donned the PNG colours again in the U17 World Cup qualifier in Cook Islands this year.
Loretta said the highlight of her football career was when she got picked in two A-group tournaments — the U15s in China and the U17s in the Cook Islands.
She said she could not believe when they called her to be part of the squad for the World Cup.
“I am happy that the coaches Lisa Cole and Rachel Wadunah have given me this opportunity,” she said from Goroka, where she is training.
Yagum looks no further than her dad as her role model and she follows former England captain David Beckham.
She described her tour to South Korea and US as valuable experience. Yagum plans to concentrate on her education after the World Cup, play soccer if she has time and teach young girls in the Markham Valley the sport.
By HENRY MORABANG