The National, Tuesday January 26th, 2016
By HENRY MORABANG
PAPUA New Guinea women’s Under-20 soccer coach Lisa Cole was impressed with her 10 players who were part of the senior side that lost to New Zealand in the Olympics qualifier at PNGFA Academy in Lae on Saturday.
The American arrived in Lae over the weekend in time to watch her charges fare against the best in the region and was pleased with their development.
The U20 players in the senior women squad are Yvonne Gabong, Ramona Padio, Marie Kaipu, Lace Kunei, Jacobeth Bani, Sheila Gubag, Gloria Laela, Olitha Upaupa, Hega Gerard and Tetoria Robert.
Only Gabong, Padio, Kaipu, Laela and Bani took the field on Saturday while the others were on the reserve bench.
Cole said she has given the remaining members of the U20 squad training programmes to work on before moving in for the first camp in Goroka next month. The camp will be for two months.
Apart from the camp, they U20 women team have plans for some local trips to Madang and Lae for friendly matches against their male academy sides.
Cole said through mutual agreement with US coach Michelle Frank, PNG would host the US U20 team in May for two friendly matches either in Port Moresby or Lae.
“I’ve had talks with US coach Michelle Frank to come to PNG to get a feel of the environment before the tournament in November,” the former US international said.
The PNG coach said they had plans for four international friendly tours to Japan, South Korea, Australia and a return trip to the States.
Cole, who had a great chance to watch the senior women in action pulled no punches stating that there were areas of improvement in the PNG coaching system.
“There are many specific areas the team needs to work on. The PNG women players try to do things but can’t execute during the game,” Cole said.
“When we try to have change the coaching system we do have problems. We had some big moments against New Zealand but could not complete them,” she said.
She said that PNG women, both senior and youth teams, had to work on set plays which was one of the main reasons they lost badly to New Zealand in the Olympic qualifiers.
Cole said set plays were controllable but the team needed to do more to cut down on their errors and to be more effective on attack.
She said PNG may not be the best team on the day, but they (senior women) had a fighting spirit despite conceding seven goals from the visiting Football Ferns.