The National, Tuesday 02nd April, 2013
PAPUA New Guinea put on their best performance in the Oceania World Cup Under-20 qualifiers, going down 2-0 to Fiji at Ba’s Govind Park last Friday.
The national U20 side finished bottom of the tournament, failing to win a match.
In their early matches, PNG was blasted all over Churchill Park, in Lautoka, losing 5-0 to New Zealand, 6-1 to Vanuatu and 9-3 New Caledonia.
The losses have put the PNGFA and its Youth Development Programme back to the drawing board. It clearly shows the national body’s technical team needs wholesale changes, including replacing of coaching teams for the U17 and U20.
Against Fiji, PNG had a golden opportunity when Charkston Aopi’s shot was saved by Fiji goalkeeper Senirusi Bokini in the third minute.
Fiji scored in the 13th minute when Rusiate Matarerega played around goalkeeper Ishmael Pole and slipped a shot past the near post.
Both teams traded shots at each other’s goals but the wet surface made it impossible for them to score.
Fijians Josiah Masiwini and Tomasi Tuicakau were cautioned before Fiji struck again through Matarerega, who picked up his double of the afternoon.
Just before half-time, Pettyshen Elijah was yellow carded.
Fiji led 2-0 at half time.
In the second half, PNG came back much stronger but could not find the net.
PNG’s hardest tryers for the day were Komolong, fullback John Ray and Elijah but they could do little for their team.
New Zealand won the U20 OFC championship and will represent Oceania in the World Cup in Turkey later this year.
The PNG team returned home on Saturday.