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NMI players off to training camp in Guam

The Northern Marianas Islands Football Association is sending four teams to Guam for a five-day training camp to bolster their preparations for upcoming tournaments.

The NMI Men’s and Men’s U20 national teams and the NMI Women’s and Girls U18 squads are leaving Saipan this morning and will start their series of intensive training sessions this afternoon at the Guam Football Association National Training Center in Dededo. Nearly 60 players are attending the training camp, which will also include friendly matches against Guam’s national teams.

The NMI U18 Women’s will see action first in a friendly game against Guam U18 at 5:30 pm tomorrow at the GFA facility, while the NMI Men’s will take the field at 7:30pm when it faces their Guam counterparts—the Matao. Before Saturday’s matches, the NMI players will have training sessions in the morning. The morning training sessions will run until Wednesday, while Sunday’s schedule will have the NMI U20 battling Guam’s U20 crew in the 5pm duel, while the NMI Women’s will square off against Guam Masakada in the 7pm tiff.

The NMI and Guam’s men’s and women’s teams will collide anew on Tuesday with the two squads’ female players meeting at 4:15pm and the male at 6:15pm. For the last pair of friendlies, the NMI Women’s will play Guam’s U18 at 4:15pm on Wednesday, while the NMI and Guam’s U20 squads will cross paths again in the 6:15pm match.

Continued improvement

Coaches of the NMI national teams welcome the opportunity to train off-island and challenge Guam players as their crew had very limited tournament exposure in the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our players are working hard to try to catch up with international football standard and play in AFC tournaments this year. They make use of their past experiences when they play in international tournaments, so this training camp will be very helpful so we can see where we now. We will evaluate the team and plan what we need to further work on toward the AFC tournaments,” said NMIFA technical director and national men’s head coach Michiteru Mita.

In the Guam tournament, Mita will be assisted by Jersh Angeles, while Davy Laxa is the team manager.

Mae Ito, who is on the women’s coaching staff joining Irish Pagarao, said the camp will give the teams a good platform to show what they have accomplished so far while training under the current challenging conditions.

“The girls and the women have been working and training diligently since our last training camp in 2021. Although we had a few setbacks due to the increase of positive cases in the community, players would always return after completion of their mandatory isolation to continue to improve individually and as a team,” Ito said.

“Training camps like this one are vital to the players and the team so that we can evaluate where we are at in terms of team chemistry, skills, and techniques. It is also a reward to players that have committed their time and heart to the team for the past year,” she added.

Published by Saipan Tribune - Feb 18 2022


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