NMI loses first two games in U20 Asian Cup Qualifiers


THE NMI U20 Men’s National Team is off to a rough start in the AFC U20 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan, losing to Turkmenistan and Syria on Saturday and Monday. Against Turkmenistan, the NMI lost 0-7. The NMI had a tough time finding a clear shot while Turkmenistan broke through the NMI’s line of defense, scoring four goals in the first half. Turkmenistan continued to apply pressure, squeezing in three more goals in the second half for a 7-0 victory. Against Syria, the NMI fared worse and lost 0-10. Syria scored six goals in the opening half against the NMI and excelled defensively as well. Syria then added four more goals in the second half for a blowout victory. Despite the two losses, NMI Head Coach Michiteru Mita believes that the U20 team has improved in all aspects of soccer. “The team [is gaining] very good experience playing high level football on the [world] stage. Of course, we did not get the desired results but we have been training very hard and we always try to win every game…to make our island community proud,” Mita said. Since the U19 AFC tournament in 2019, Mita feels that the NMI team has developed on and off the pitch. He said he has noted improvements in terms of defending discipline, understanding tactics, and collective play. “However, because of the high level of competition, our boys are required to think one second faster, move one minute faster. If you neglect that…at this level, it leads to a big mistake,” he added. But again, he said, the NMI is “fighting in a very tough environment, going up against various factors such as extremely dry weather, time difference, and high intensity matches after a long travel.” Nonetheless, he said the NMI team will continue to do their best. “After two games, the players are still showing their desire to improve and play a better game,” he added. “The staff continue to analyze the games, maintain the condition of the players and manage their health, and provide maximum support so that the players can perform at their best. I feel that the national team has grown a lot by making use of their experience from past competitions. We continue to work hard for our last two games. I would like to ask our soccer community to continue supporting the team.”


Published by Marianas Variety - Sep 16, 2022


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