Thursday 01 December 2016, 07:29

Praise for PNG ahead of tournament finale

Two days out from the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup final between Korea DPR and France, a press conference was held in Port Moresby looking back at the three-week event.

On hand were Sonia Bien Aime, Chairwoman of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Organising Committee and member of the FIFA Council; Rebecca Smith, FIFA Manager of Women's Competitions and Seamus Marten, CEO of the Papua New Guinea 2016 Local Organising Committee (LOC).

Among some of the key discussion points were the success of the tournament, and the legacy that will remain in Papua New Guinea as a result of the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. reviews some of the key points from the press conference.

Sonia Bien Aime I would like to thank the government of PNG for supporting women’s football in this beautiful country, and I would also like to thank the LOC for their efforts and hard work. The people of PNG have proven themselves to not only be very friendly and warm people, but also very good hosts. I consider this tournament to be full of success.

We have also seen many campaigns here off the pitch, campaigns which hopefully will encourage girls and women to break barriers and end violence. I sincerely hope will that this tournament will leave a legacy and that each girl that wants to play football can do so. From a volunteer stand-point, we had over 1,000 people who received training as a result of this tournament, and are now employable, so many people have benefitted from this tournament.

Rebecca Smith Despite some challenges I can say the tournament has generally been a success. There have been some amazing crowds and the participating teams have provided some very positive feedback, and have some positive experiences to take away from PNG. It has been one of the best attended events that we have had, not just in terms of numbers, but in terms of atmosphere at the stadiums. The crowds have really gotten behind all the teams, and the experience for the fans and the teams has just been phenomenal.

There has been some great infrastructure that has been put into place and we really hope that for legacy purposes it continues to hold, and that the future women’s league in the country is a success. PNG Football Stadium was operated by an all-female venue crew and that is something we have never seen in any World Cup. I really hope in terms of legacy that the venue will remain with the PNGFA and with women’s football as well. There will also be a maintenance programme for pitches so that is also an important legacy to leave behind.

Seamus Marten As a nation we should be very proud, as a city Port Moresby has stood up, as a football family the PNG football association has delivered, and also as individuals from the entire workforce to all the spectators, we have given a very good account of Papua New Guinea. I know that our visiting teams and guests have left with warm memories of the country and the tournament.

Port Moresby now has stadiums dedicated to football which is something we haven’t had before. Underpinning that have been the actual programmes. There has been the FIFA Live Your Goals programme in the lead-up and during the event, and there will be the mini football programme across the country which is primarily aimed at young girls to play football. On top of that there is various other FIFA projects with academies looking to be developed, one in Kimbe specifically for women’s football.

On top of that our workforce programme had a unique approach, identifying a marginalised group of youth providing them with skills, and encouraging them towards employment. So off the pitch there have been some legacy aspects as well.

That magic moment when (PNG forward) Nicollete (Ageva) scored that goal … I think everyone was willing that to happen and, maybe selfishly, that was the moment of the tournament. I think we have inspired a generation.