By PATRICIA KEAMO
A LIVE draw yesterday saw Papua New Guinea joining Tahiti and Vanuatu in Group B of the Oceania Football Confederation Women’s Nations Cup, scheduled for July 13-30 in Fiji.
Teams will play each other once before the top-two sides in each of the three groups advance to the finals.
The eventual winners will advance to an inter-confederation playoff tournament, which will decide the final three spots for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
PNG is among nine regional member nations that were drawn into three groups for the tournament.
Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa have been drawn into Group A, PNG, Tahiti and Vanuatu make up in Group B, and Fiji will host New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands in Group C. The top-two teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals along with the two best third-placed teams.
The winners will qualify for the semifinals.
The losers of the semifinals will play for the third place and the winners will proceed to the July 30 final.
Meanwhile, the national women’s team convened into Port Moresby this week for a six-week camp.
They will depart early in July for the Nation’s Cup.
PNG Football Association general secretary Pius Letenge told The National that plans were in place for the Nicola Demaine-coached side to play another international friendly match before the tournament.
“Coming back from the tri-nations series in Singapore, they identified some areas that needed improvement,” he said.
“But the national team also proved that they could perform on such a stage.
“They are going to travel again for another friendly.
“We are yet to decide whether to send them to the Philippines, Indonesia or Australia.
“Those are three options that we are considering. Nicola has already identified her targeted players, and has given them training programmes.
“But the travelling squad to Fiji has not been finalised yet.
“They’ll be camping at a hotel in Port Moresby which makes it accessible for them to have gym and field sessions as a team.
“We’ve made arrangements for two players from outside centres (who are part of the team) to attend schools in Port Moresby and train with the team.”
“We are waiting for the final team list before we finalise their contracts.”