Oceania race for China
|OFC Women's World Cup Qualifiers
Oceania race for China
(FIFA.com) 08 Apr 2007
Four teams will be battling it out in Papua New Guinea between 9 - 13 April in order to win Oceania's berth for the FIFA Women's World Cup in China.
New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Tonga and the hosts will be taking part in a round robin tournament, with the team with the most points heading to the Far East to represent their confederation this September.
Read on as FIFA.com asseses the chances of each side, starting with hosts Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea's build-up campaign included a 3-0 victory over PNG Power, a local women's club, and drafted in six previously untried players during an intense training period in February, 2007. Gusmao is confident the squad had prepared well but insisted in the local press that the step up to challenge New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Tonga would require a further improvement.
The Junior Flamingo striker has a strong background in Futsal and is just one of a number of talented players that make up this Solomon Islands team. What is clear is that the weight of expectation will be evenly spread around a team that boasts 11 players that are former internationals. Their preparation has been intense with the squad training every day in the month leading up to the tournament.
The team has a combination of youth and experience with 35 year-old striker Wendi Henderson the sole survivor of New Zealand's FIFA Women's World Cup campaign in China in 1991 and Rebecca Smith part of a new era of Kiwi players who have graduated through the US College system and gone on to earn a full-time professional football career in Europe.
At the OFC U-20 Women's Championship-Samoa 2006, the Tonga team went all the way to the final after encouraging performances against Vanuatu (4-1), Solomon Islands (2-1) and Samoa (3-2) before losing to New Zealand (0-6).
Penateti Feke has graduated from the Tonga U-20 team to the senior national squad seamlessly after playing every minute of action at Samoa 2007 and finishing as Tonga's top goalscorer with three strikes to her name including a crucial brace in the victory over the Solomon Islands. Feke is joined in the senior squad by former U-20 team-mate Nasaleti Kalavi.
OFC Women's World Cup Qualifiers
Monday 9 April
Wednesday 11 April
Friday 13 April