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NMI U20 preps for AFC qualifier, holds camp in Guam

The NMI Men’s U20 National Team held a training camp in Guam last week as part of its preparations for the 2023 Asian Football Confederation U20 Asian Cup Qualification.

Northern Mariana Islands Football Association technical director and NMI head coach Michiteru Mita brought 18 players to Guam for the training camp, which he said will help them in their team building and improve their chemistry.

“The squad played against high-level players and we will use this opportunity to recognize areas of improvement, such as team building and chemistry, for the 2023 AFC U20 Asian Cup Qualification,” Mita said.

The NMI is in Group D of the 2023 AFC Cup qualifier, joining host Jordan, Chinese-Taipei, Syria, and Turkmenistan in the pool. The qualifying competition will be held at the King Abdullah II Stadium in Amman from September 10 to 18.

“Having completed a training camp in February and last weekend, we are hoping for better collective team plays in attacking and defending, and we will be using different play models as we continue our preparations for the AFC tournament,” Mita added.

The men’s U20 team, which is composed of goalkeepers Mark Chavez, Vicente Reyes, and Merrick Toves and field players Jerald Aquino, Anthony Austria, Dev Bachani, Taka Borja, Kohtaro Goto, Ruben Guerrero, Akira Kadokura, Brian Lubao, Rintaro Miyawaki, Ariel Narvaez Jr., Daniell Pablo, Cody Shimizu, Leo Takahashi, Brandon Tenorio, and Markus Toves, was the second squad that the NMIFA sent to Guam this month for a training camp. The first one was the NMI Women’s National Team. Completing the men’s delegation were assistant coach Jireh Yobech, team manager Davy Laxa, and goalkeeper coach Ronnel Ocanada.

The team kicked off their camp at the Guam Football Association National Training Center with an afternoon training session last Wednesday, followed by a morning training session the next day. Then last Thursday evening, the NMI players saw action in their first training game and shut down the Guam U20 National Team Pool, 5-0.

“Although some of Guam’s national players are off-island, their pool is still competitive, and we were able to play against a team with a different standard and that is hard to find in the NMI,” Mita said. The visiting squad then had its second duel against their Guam counterparts last Saturday evening before returning to Saipan last Sunday.

Meanwhile, the NMIFA thanked the Guam Football Association headed by president Tino San Gil for hosting the NMI players anew and giving the national team an opportunity to play in training matches which the squad definitely needs, as the AFC qualifier is just around the corner. (PR)


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