Women eye battered Vanuatu side

Normal, Sports

The National, Thursday 20th of February, 2014

COACH Rachel Wadunah is not taking Vanuatu lightly when Papua New Guinea face their fellow Melanesians in the second match of the Under-20 OFC championships at Mangere Centre Park in Auckland, New Zealand, today.
PNG and New Zealand with a win each, head the pack in the run to qualify for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Canada later this year.
“With Vanuatu we know that they are a very young team, but that doesn’t mean that we will underestimate them,” Wadunah said.
The Madang-based Wadunah a first time national coach said she was happy with the opening win 4-0 over Tonga win, and was looking forward to another strong performance against the Ni-Vanuatu who were thrashed 12-0 by the Kiwis in their first match.
Wadunah said captain Rumona Morris’ leadership had been exemplary along with contributions from Meagan Gunemba and Talitha Irakau making PNG a solid unit on and off the field.
In the first game against Tonga, Rumona was a work-horse popping up all over the field.
She created opportunities for her teammates while Gunemba made several incisive runs feeding strikers.
Today, PNG take on a battered Vanuatu in the first game of the day, while New Zealand play Tonga.
PNG were kept in check by Tonga during the first half of the opening match, but four goals in the second period sealed a hard-earned victory.
Wadunah said she would be looking for more of the same from her girls – rapid, one-touch passing while making the most of their speed and agility.
Wadunah added that PNG needed to convert more chances at goal.
They let nerves get the better of them on Tuesday, and facing defending champions New Zealand that was to be expected.
But Vanuatu coach Tom McDonald said they hoped to disrupt PNG’s rhythm and unsettle Wadunah’s girls to have any chance of victory.
“We’re going to play our game, play some football and we’ll definitely focus on just relaxing and playing the way Vanuatu plays,” Donald said.
“We do have some very good players  who can cause problems for defences so we just have to believe in ourselves.”