U15 national soccer team is 0-2 in EAFF champs
The NMI U15 Men’s National Soccer Team that is in Qingdao, China for the FIFA Forward Developmental Programme EAFF U15 Men’s Championship 2023 has settled for two losses so far in the four-game tourney.
After they drew a blank, 0-4 defeat against Mongolia in Group A last Friday, the NMI team regrouped and drew first blood in the second game against Macau last Saturday.
Although they still lost, 2-5, Paul Anthony Lizama put the NMI team on the board early in the 4th minute of the game to make it 1-0. Macau bounced back and equalized the game 1-1 a few minutes later, but Lizama, with a powerful and long shot, made it 2-1 as it flew over the goalie’s arms.
However, Macau came back with a vengeance and scored four in the last half as they silenced the CNMI for the win.
In their debut game last Friday at the Qingdao Baisha Bay Football Centre, the CNMI gave up three early goals in the first half, but played better defense in the second after yielding only one goal in the second half.
"The first game is always the hardest. Even more so for this particular group as [the] majority of them have never played in an international competition. Still, the team pushed through and the bits and pieces of their months of consistent training came into play. Mongolian players are physically stronger and much faster than us, but our team worked hard collectively to stop their attacks and as the game progressed, Mongolia struggled to hit the back of our net. By the end of the second half, they were only able to score one goal, a testament to how disciplined and collective the boys played," team manager Mikky Vargas said.
About their second game, “Coaches could not be [prouder] of how the boys played better in the second game and were able to score two goals. The last two games will be tougher, but the boys will fight all the way to the end,” said Vargas.
Results of their Sept. 3 game against South Korea and Sept. 4 game against China will be posted in the next issues of Saipan Tribune.
Published by Saipan Tribune - Sep 4, 2023