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Send-off ceremony for NMI U17 Women’s today

The Northern Mariana Islands Football Association will be holding a send-off ceremony for the NMI U17 Women’s National Team that will be competing in the AFC U20 Asian Women’s Cup 2024 Qualifiers in Thailand.

The sendoff will take place today, Friday, at 5pm at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. The community is invited to show their support to the NMI representatives and join the NMIFA Executive Committee, government officials, club officers, and the players’ family members in wishing the national team well. The NMI Women’s U17 will be playing in Group A of the qualifiers and will be battling Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia in the Asian Football Confederation-sanctioned tournament that will run from April 26 to 30 at the Buriram City Stadium.

“We would like to invite the community to the send-off ceremony for our NMI U17 Women’s National Team. Our team takes great pride to represent our islands in this international competition and it would definitely boost their confidence level further to see the community rallying behind them. We appreciate the continued support and guidance from parents, NMIFA and club officials and coaches, as the team prepares for the AFC U20 Asian Women’s Cup 2024 Qualifiers,” team manager Catherine Toves said.

Meanwhile, the NMI U17 Women’s held a training camp in Guam last week as part of their preparations for the AFC event. The group, which is coached by Olympian Luam Khen Koo, played three matches against Guam’s national players besides having their regular training sessions at the Guam Football Association National Training Center in Dededo. The visiting squad split their games with the Guam U17 Women’s, winning the second and last match, 2-1, after dropping the first, 2-3. Versus the Guam U20 Women’s Team, the NMI players engaged the hosts to a draw, 1-1.

In their last training match, the NMI players gave up an early goal, but were able to regain their bearings and pull off the victory. Situations like this, according to Koo, will help the team develop both its mental and physical toughness, which they will have to show when they play against the favored teams in the qualifier.

“This is part of the learning opportunities for the team and a reminder for the players to go all out on the pitch all the time and keep fighting,” said Koo, adding that playing against the much older Guam crew (U20 team) is a good training for the NMI.

“It was a great game as the girls were able to physically compete against the older Guam squad. We need games like this to be prepared mentally and physically for the AFC competition against Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, which are big soccer countries with strong soccer culture,” the national team coach said.

The NMIFA thanked GFA headed by its president Valentino San Gil for hosting the NMI U17 Women’s National Team last week. Guam will also participate in the qualifiers and will be hosting the Philippines and Lebanon in the AFC tournament starting on April 22. (PR)

Published by Saipan Tribune - Apr 14 2023


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