The National, Thursday July 11th, 2013
By ZACHERY PER
THE 2013 Niugini Tablebirds Under-17 and U20 National Youth Soccer Championship currently on in Goroka will be used to identify players for the 2015 Pacific Games and for the youth talent development programme.
Championship coordinator Dimirit Mileng said the occasion was a one-off event that provides talented young players a chance to showcase their potential.
“The championship is part of the development programme to identify players at the U17 and U20 levels to eventually make the national team,” Mileng said.
He added that the tournament was a great opportunity for the PNGFA to start the groundwork in youth development in preparation for the 2015 Pacific Games.
The championship, for men, comes a week after the U17 and U20 women completed their championship in Lae.
Associations participating in the U17 competition are Goroka, Madang, Lae, Lahi, Wau, Bulolo and Mumeng. The U20s are Goroka, Madang, Wau, Lae, Lahi, NCD Public Service Soccer Association (NCDPSSA), Port Moresby Soccer Association (PMSA), Markham, Manus, Finschafen and Bulolo.
The Madang U20s beat Lahi 1-0 yesterday and look promising under coach Godfrey Baniau.
Madang continued the standard set by their U17 girls who won the title last week beating Lae.
Mileng said the football played in Goroka over the last two days was impressive and all sides were playing well.
He said the top four in each pool would make the finals tomorrow with teams exhibiting the best fitness and skills to contest for top honours.
National Soccer League side Besta PNG United will use the championship to scout for its team as well as the PNGFA Academy.
Mileng said Niugini Tablebirds was the major sponsor with a package of K35,000 in which K5,000 in kind and K30,000 used to stage the championship and provide prizes.
Meanwhile, Goroka coach Peter Dindillo said soccer in Goroka went off the scene for a while but to be given the honor to host the championship was a big vote of confidence.
“We have to work hard to improve talents here,” Dindillo said.
“We will accept any ranking the organisers award us.
“In the highlands rugby league is the biggest sport but we have soccer talents here and being the host we will give us a chance to show everyone that Goroka has what it takes,” Dindillo said.
He said Goroka soccer was focused on developing its youth from schools to put Goroka and Eastern Highlands soccer on the right track in the future.
The championship that will end tomorrow.