PNG: We could not believe that we had scored!

We were shocked! We could not believe that we had scored!

This was what the PNG U20 women’s team captain, Yvonne Gabong, revealed to Loop PNG after their Sanap Wantaim march to the parliament on Friday (Nov 25).

Four of the girls, along with coach Lisa Cole, joined NGOs and students to support the campaign for a safe Port Moresby for women and girls.

Loop caught up with Gabong (6, midfielder), Joy Tsuga (19, midfielder), Belinda Giada (12, midfielder) and Margret Joseph (3, defender) just as they were exiting the parliament.

“For the first time in history, we looked up to the scoreboard and saw 1-1,” recalls Gabong.

“It was the most joyful moment of our lives!”

Teammate Tsuga also backed her captain up, saying: “When we saw them (international teams) playing, it boosted our morale, making us believe that we can play like them.

“We have the potential. It’s just that we are not believing in ourselves.”

‘The goal that rocked a nation’, as put by, was the most patriotic moment ever for Papua New Guinea. And what’s more amazing is the fact that the girls only had seven months of training.

“In seven months you don’t catch up to the world’s best,” coach Cole tells Loop.

“I was worried that the country wouldn’t appreciate the work that the players put in.”

Sadly, the girls admitted to feeling downhearted when they received their first lot of criticisms during the Tri Nations Series in May. PNG lost to Japan 10-0 on May 24 at the Sir John Guise stadium, then another 10-0 loss to USA on the 30th.

“We felt down but coach encouraged us to see the positive side of the negative comments,” captain Gabong states.

Tsuga adds: “They have the right to say whatever they want. However, at the end of the day, we are all Papua New Guineans. And we are also first timers.”

The girls added that participating in the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup was an experience that they will never forget.

(Speedy forward Nicollete Ageva bursting through the line of defenders to score ‘the goal that rocked’ PNG. Picture:

Carmella Gware