PNGFA eyes 2026 event

Sports

By ISAAC LIRI
PAPUA New Guinea Football Association acting president John Gonjuan says their vision is to see Papua New Guinea take part in the 2026 Fifa World Cup which will be jointly-hosted by USA, Canada and Mexico.
During the presentation ceremony of the Southern Region Under-17 Youth Football Festival last Sunday, Gonjuan said their vision will be achieved if only they refocus on the youth and start preparing them.
“Football has been always considerate of the seniors but this time we will put a lot of concentration on our kids and that’s why we have come up with two Under-17 youth tournaments, for Southern Region and for Northern and Highlands regions,” Gonjuan said.
“We need to refocus on what we are currently doing, we need to focus on our kids so we can groom them up so we can have quality players for the future.
“And that’s the reason why PNG Football Association has decided so start off with the U17 youth festival.
“After this tournament, we will do an analysis and confirm and decide the future of this event whether we increase the number of conferences to four or continue on with two, and also look at the different age groups to include in the tournament.
“Our focus is to have a team in 2026 Fifa World Cup and this is the age group that we need to start working on, Under-14, U15, U16 and U17s.
“In eight years time these kids will be in their 20s and that’s the reason why we need to start with those kids because we are serious about going to the 2026 Fifa World Cup.
“So we ask all the member associations and the schools and everyone to be part of the journey because we can’t do it alone, we need everybody to be working together,” Gonjuan said.
“If countries like Ireland can do it in eight years I can’t see why PNG can’t do it.
“So I challenge all to work together and only then we can be able to achieve our dream.”

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